August 14, 2019
Scripture: Romans 15:14-15
My brothers and sisters, I myself am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and are able to teach each other. But I’ve written to you in a sort of daring way, partly to remind you of what you already know. I’m writing to you in this way because of the grace that was given to me by God.
Thought for the Day: If Paul had actually given headings to certain sections of scripture, I feel pretty certain this one would have the heading, “Take note, Bruce.” Paul is so affirming in the opening sentence, but then it is followed with a “But…” According to Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, “Everything before the word ‘but’ is horse manure (he used a different word, but you get the point). I don’t know if I would go that far with Paul’s words, but he wants to temper any ego issues the church in Rome might claim. I wonder what the church in Rome already knows? Could it be that each of us is a mixed bag of good and poor choices. We have our more than impressive moments, and then we have our less than stellar. I think Paul would applaud us for many things, but then remind us of what we already know – we are always one decision, one poor choice of words, one quick reaction without thinking, one sarcastic comment – from becoming the jerks Christ does not need representing him. Will he still love us? Of course, but we need to continually do self-evaluations about our weaknesses and what sets us off. Grace, according to Paul, is what helps us do this tough internal work. It removes any fear we might have of some divine judgment, while also empowering us as we do the necessary work of change. Remember, you are also – one decision, one grace-filled choice, one thoughtful response, one affirming comment – from becoming the person Christ need you to be.
Prayer: Let us celebrate the many successes while being aware of the needed work that remains. O Merciful God, keep us about the work of faith while always working on our faith. Amen.
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