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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Much Required

For the past several years I have been using the daily readings in the old Book of Common Prayer for my time with the Lord most days.  Often I will start reading in a passage and a flood of cross references come to mind.  What ends up happening is the Lord strings together some things that He wants me to consider.  Happened again today.
Each of us have been given much in Christ.  Of each of us much is required.  It is not reasonable that we sit in the bleachers cheering on those in the arena.  It is reasonable that we join the fray.
Started in Psalm 66:10 – 12, that led me to James 1:2 – 4, Romans 5:3 – 5, 1 Peter 1:6, 4:12 and 2 Peter 2:9.  The message to me was that the Lord is about shaping us for the work for which He created us.  In Psalm 139:1 – 16, David describes how the Lord has shaped us and set us on a path of His making for work that He wants us to do.  Paul picks this theme up in Ephesians 2:10 echoing David’s thought.  There are many difficulties which my wife and I have experienced.  For most of my career I have been a square peg in a succession of round holes.  Reflecting on this, assuming that God is sovereign – last time I checked He seemed to be – then it follows that all of those trials, those experiences in the round holes had purpose.  They were to shape us into more effective instruments for the work that He wants us to do.  Reflecting on that history, it becomes clear that all of the skills and knowledge I use today came from those experiences.

Looking back over the years He has given us much.  That leads me to the second passage, 1 Samuel 28:6.  It is Saul realizing in despair that the Lord has abandoned him because after the Lord anointed him king, Saul betrayed that trust.  That led me to Luke 12:48.  The fact is that the Lord has invested a lot in us.  Therefore, we are required to give a lot back.

That is really true for all of us.  The price paid for our redemption was staggeringly, infinitely high.  God died in our place.  Much is required in response.  Paul said to us in Romans 12:1 that living life as a sacrifice was the only rational response.  While that makes perfect sense it does not make it easy.  In fact I find that it is only through grace that I come stumbling anywhere near, and that not often.