5 he saved us because of his mercy, not because of righteous things we had done. He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our savior.
This text is one of the core foundations of our theological beliefs as Methodists YET, I’d argue, one of the most difficult to live into. God’s love is a gift, given without a price. Our culture is focused on doing and achieving. What’s one of the first questions you ask someone when you meet them? “So, what do you do for a living?” – as if our identity is created by what it is we do. For the record, people often get super weird when I respond with, “pastor”.
I myself have been trying to get in the habit of asking people, “so what does your life look like?” instead of about what their occupation is. The question tends to throw people off, but ultimately yields good results. Many don’t then begin by talking about what their job is. Maybe they’ll talk about a relationship they have, a hobby their passionate about or a goal they’ve been working toward. It’s actually very beautiful.
Who we are is not what we do.
Thank goodness! Because we mess up. A lot. Even when we try not to, we make mistakes. We unintentionally hurt peoples feelings. We snap at a loved one out of exhaustion. We think about ourselves before others. Even when this is what we do, it isn’t who we are. Who we are, are beloved children of God. Full stop. The things we do, and more notably, the things we do wrong, don’t define who we are.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Have you ever noticed yourself working for the purpose of proving yourself? What message do you need to hear in order to do work as a by-product of love, not to earn it? How can you share that message with someone else?
Prayer: God of Mercy, no act of righteousness we have done can ever live up to your abounding love for us. Forgive us for trying to match your love instead of spread it. Amen.
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