8 You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. 9 It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. 10 Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.
My family will tell you that I typically have two speeds: “Go-go-go” and “Stop.” For me, it is easy to think of life that is always about “doing” or “moving” in action with everything. This includes “being” a part of God’s mission for the world. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found that there is a danger in always moving. As I am forever even thinking ahead to the next thing, I wonder about John Lennon’s saying, “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” I recognize that sometimes my patterns get me into trouble. It is part of how I see life’s journey.
Perhaps many people also see themselves as on a life’s journey moving toward their own “becoming.” People naturally have good ideas of moving and looking ahead for positive reasons. First psychologically, it is important for our brains to look ahead with hope, rather than to live in despair, especially when we are troubled. Being hopeful, taking action steps and looking forward is healthy. Secondly, sometimes we really are called to “be” Jesus Christ’s hands and feet in the world. Then that means we will have to boldly step forward into action.
Yet if we are always doing, do we then forget that we experience God’s grace, but not because of anything we have done? We do not have to do anything, or achieve anything to receive God’s love and grace. We do not have to become anything else for God’s grace is sufficient, and we are sufficient. In fact, we are God’s achievements, just as we are! It is not by our works that God shares God’s love and grace. God’s grace and love was already here, first.
If life is a journey, then Jesus is our Forever Traveling Companion, who causes us to stop and notice. Jesus calls us to live in the moment and to remember that being and pausing in that moment with Jesus is just as important as looking or going ahead into action. We just have to just stop, notice and be thankful. (Stop there, I say to my runaway thoughts and ways.) Don’t just go-go-go.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Think about it. Right here, right now, your present “self” has done nothing to be given God’s grace. Yet, God is giving us grace, peace and love right in this moment! As this scripture recognizes, it is not how much we’ve accomplished that changes our relationship with God; but it is God that has offered us grace anyway. How has this year taught you to stop and to appreciate God’s grace? Where/how do you struggle to accept that this is the case?
Prayer: Gracious God, we pause today to recognize the multiple ways that you offer grace to us even before we are aware of your unending presence. Help us to stop and to notice even when life or our own actions try to tear us away from you. Thank you for unending trust and love. Thank you for your grace. Amen.