September 11, 2016

Places of grace

I’ve heard people say that the devil is in the details. I’ve also heard said that God cares about the details. Apparently both are interested in details . . .  and when I read this verse, it seems that I also should . . .

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10)

Details are important. Today’s devotional reading says so. Chambers uses this verse to make his point:

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:14–15)

Chambers’ point is that Jesus took care of details in that He did menial and commonplace things. He says that this indicates God’s power is needed for even the smallest task if we are going to do them His way.

He asks, “Can I use a towel as He did? Towels and dishes and sandals, all the ordinary sordid things of our lives, reveal more quickly than anything what we are made of. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty as it ought to be done.”

I agree. What I do in my home or in any other ordinary surroundings reveals much about how I will do more important things. I can’t be slipshod here and then say I would be a greater servant of God if I were out there in the mission field, or given a greater task than taking care of laundry and such. Chambers says if anyone thinks this is true, it would be “like trying to produce the munitions of war in the trenches—you will be killed while you are doing it.”

There is great value in plugging away at the ordinary stuff, doing all things as unto the Lord. Daily devotions, daily obedience, daily seeking Jesus in the small things builds habits that will carry me into deeper territory. When a crisis comes, I can go into it trusting Him, just as I trust Him in the small things.

Yesterday, Chambers made it sound like my good habits would be my saving grace, but I do not agree. Jesus is always my saving grace, whether I perform well or not. However, neglecting the habit of trusting and obeying Him can lead to a downfall. I cannot save myself, but I certainly can mess up myself.

Spiritual rescue operations and spiritual growth are always God’s work of grace. My habits of spiritual disciplines will not make me grow; they only put me in places where He can polish and refine this sinner’s life. It is far better to walk in places of grace than expect grace to fall out of the cupboard when trials and difficulties cross my path, even though God mercifully provides when I’m blindsided by my own foolishness.

Places of grace include prayer, Bible reading and study, worship, confession, celebration, sacrifice and a host of other things, even small details like singing praises while I’m folding laundry or washing the feet of weary travelers. 

Besides all that, I’d rather look for God in the details than the devil. 

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