Today we read one of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible – Ch. 15 of 1 Corinthians. Many verses “jumped out” for our meditation. The one we have chosen to really reflect upon is v.10. Paul laments on his unworthiness, but then says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
We hear the word grace used a lot in Christian circles. There are popular hymns about “amazing grace” and how the Lord has “saved a wretch like me.” Bible readers above all people appreciate “the wonder of his grace.” But we reflected thoughtfully on the example of Paul and his utter commitment of service to his Lord to see that “his grace toward me was not in vain.”
No one can earn salvation! But in accepting “his grace” what kind of motivation results in our hearts? Can it be that for all too many in these “last days” that his grace is taken for granted and it fails to motivate them to live really committed lives as Paul did? Let us realize that commitment shows up in all the small things of life that we do (or don’t do) every day.
Paul urged his companions in this. We will soon read in 2 Cor. 8 how he “urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” [v.6,7]
Our acceptance of the grace of God should change us – as it did Paul, to show grace toward others in every situation so that his grace toward us is “not in vain.” If we have previously been a “wretch” – this change should be extremely evident. The challenge for most of us is in the many “small things” we do every day. Recall yesterday’s reading in 2 Kings of Naaman being angry he had not been asked to do some great thing to be cured of his leprosy. His grace toward us is not in vain if we daily do the small things in his service.