by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has
not been 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.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-11(NRSV)
“Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we're about to eat, amen.” This is from an old Jimmy Stewart movie called Shenandoah. Charlie, his character is a farmer in Shenandoah, Virginia. When I heard this prayer, well it just did soemthing to me. As I heard this prayer, I couldn’t help but think how alike his prayer is to much of the living that goes on today.
see, many of us walk around believing and living life as though
we do it all on our own. We think and believe we are the answer
for our life, for our family, for that longing of satisfaction,
that need to experience completion and stability, when all we
are really doing is walking talking and living asleep to and
numb to the truth. It is when we find ourselves in this state
that we need, more than anything, a Great Awakening.
Hear the Good News, when we experience grace, it awakens us, deep and from within. It is that moment when we realize and recognize God's activity in our life and in the world has less to do with anything we have done, and more to do with God. John Wesley writes of this moment in his journal;
“About a quarter before nine, while the leader was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Grace is about faith and trust, not in our own means, but in Jesus Christ. Let me say it one more time. It is about faith and trust, not in our own means, but in Jesus Christ. Paul knew this.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been 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."
The thing is, a Grace Awakening is all about God’s activity in our life. As grace works in our life, we are made right with God. As we are made right with God,we begin to change from the inside out, as soon as we place our trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation, that he takes away our sin, even mine. Do you believe it? Do you trust it? Do you get it? As long as you think it is something you can do, or that you are even remotely responsible, I am afraid I have to say, you still don’t get it.
When it comes to God’s grace and the salvation offered to us, the only thing we need to do is accept it. It is something we do without merit, we can’t earn it or deserve it, we can only ask for it and accept it by faith. As we accept it, we are saved by grace. I are being saved by grace. We will be saved by grace.
One more thing, The Thief on the cross, in Luke, reminds us when we awaken to grace, what is important isn’t in the where or the how, it is simply that we got it. You see, Jesus, on the cross, He took the nails for those who were watching, for the thief at his side, and for us today. He did this not to be martyred, but to awaken us to our relationship with God, with our neighbor and with ourselves.
All of this is offered to us, and it is ours to accept.
Gracious God, we know awakenings come in many different forms, physical, emotional and spiritual. Help us to awaken from our spiritual slumber and stupor and accept the grace you have offered to us. Let our life honor you above all else. Thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Grace & Peace,Rev. David Banks
First United Methodist Church of Onalaska
PO Box 596
Onalaska, TX 77360