But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. ~ I Corinthians 15:10
READING: I Corinthians 15:1-11
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking but certainty of good and salvific things to come. We hope after we have done all that we can humanly do, not instead of. Hope is the farmer who looks forward to the coming harvest after he has worked hard from dawn to dusk. Hope is the preacher praying for his congregation after a full week of counseling, study and sermon preparation. Hope is the faith of the one whose works speak for themselves.
There is often a false dichotomy between planning and Spirit. “Spiritual” leaders often say something to the effect of: Don’t plan too much. Leave room for the Spirit to move. In reality, the key to spontaneity is over-preparation, which allows me to go to the left or the right because I have been well-trained in both directions. Planning well, preparing diligently, and making every effort are the means through which God’s grace is conveyed.
Professional athletes are most relaxed during critical moments of play. It is the amateur who grips the bat too tightly or misses game-changing free throws. The Spirit moves through those who are made ready through hard work.
So work hard. Plan well. Practice always. Do all of life diligently and wisely. And there you will find hope and Spirit. Work out your fears and conquer laziness. Fear and laziness are close friends and enemies of faith, hope, and love.
Jesus, I confess that I have been lazy and have often used my faith as an excuse to work less. I put my hands to the plow because I want to believe and experience your grace. Amen.
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