"It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy." (Romans 9:16 NIV)
One of the hardest lessons I
have had to learn as an adult is to rely on God's mercy instead of my
own drive, desire or effort.
Just a few minute ago, I was
washing the dishes. The sink had been piled high with dirty plates and
bowls by various members of my family who ate at different times and
then left the dishes for...me! I admit, I was tempted to complain. I
wanted to focus my prayer on asking God to give me my heart's desire:
That everyone would do their own dishes! The Holy Spirit remind me right
then to thank God instead of complaining. Had He not already provided
the water and soap for me to wash the dishes? And couldn't I thank God
that I am healthy and physically able to wash dishes, and not on bed
rest? That I have hands and feet that are capable of washing dishes and
are free of pain?
In the words of Saint Augustine: "We must be
emptied of what we are full, so that we may be filled with what we are
empty. Too often mankind looks upon God's mercy as recognition or reward
for the work we've done. We think our efforts cause God to look upon us
with more favor. However, if we expected a specific rewarded for our
desire or effort with His Mercy, then we would be filled with pride
because of what we had accomplished. The election of God is not
something we can run for, earn or win. The reward does not depend on
anything we do."
I am reminded of the story in Matt. 20:20-24:
"Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and,
kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 'What is it you want?' he asked.
She said, 'Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your
right and the other at your left in your kingdom.' 'You don't know what
you are asking,' Jesus said to them. 'Can you drink the cup I am going
to drink?' 'We can,' they answered. Jesus said to them, 'You will indeed
drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to
grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by
my Father.'" (NIV)
As soon as I finished this devotional, I
discovered that my husband had come home and eaten supper while I was
writing...and he had washed his own dishes! Praise God!
Heavenly Father is faithful: "God is not unjust; he will not forget
your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people
and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same
diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully
realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who
through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
(Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV)
Let pray: Heavenly Father, help us to
do Your will. Not because we want to earn a specific reward. Thank you
for Jesus Christ's words before He died. Our Great High Priest Jesus
Christ said: "It is finished." (John 19:30 NIV), and "Who then is the
one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was
raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for
us." (Romans 8:34 NIV) Bless be his name. And thank You for Your
disciple, who reminds us in his letter in Hebrews: "God is not unjust;
he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have
helped his people and continue to help them..." (Heb. 6:10 NIV). We
praise you. Amen.
One in Christ,
Sophie Chun Ngeth