Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Acknowledging what God has already given - John 11:25 with a story and an observation

SCRIPTURE: John 11:25 (TM)
You don't have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live.

STORY told by Marion Gilbert:
One morning I opened the door to get the newspaper and was surprised to see a strange little dog with our paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected "delivery service," I fed him some treats. The following morning I was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of our door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers … I spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.

Aren’t we just like the little dog in Ms. Gilbert’s story? If we get a reward for a little task, we expect a greater reward if we do it more often and in a larger scale. And then there seems to something buried deep within our emotional and spiritual psyche that causes us to believe that we have to wait until the very end of life’s journey to get any reward. And then, even further, there is something built into the American way that has us believing that the only way we can achieve any reward is by our own effort as in, “pulling ourselves up by our spiritual bootstraps.”

We have heard it so often that we even begin to transfer it over to our Christian belief. Namely, if it sounds too good to be true … it is. And so the promise of an ongoing special relationship with Christ in the here and now without us “doing” anything just seems too good to be true, so we don’t believe it … we think that we have to bring the owner of it all “a newspaper” (substitute whatever you understand the means of grace to be in the context of your life for newspaper) every morning … and if one “newspaper” works, why not 8 or 28 or 78?

It is the Catch-22 of works righteousness. No matter how good we are, it is never good enough to be worthy of God’s rewards. We have to always being doing something in order to achieve success … the special relationship … heaven’s reward … abundant life. It really is as simple as JUST believing that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! … It is just that simply and there is nothing that we can do to achieve it!

Otherwise we will just wear ourselves out retrieving those dang newspapers.

Save us from ourselves and our wrong thinking, Gracious God. Save us from thinking that we have something to prove to you, to others and to ourselves. Save us from weariness of trying to achieve what you have already given. Amen

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