Tuesday, May 27, 2014

All For Jesus

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph 2:8-10

Familiar words, yes? I daresay it is one of the top ten verses memorised by the entire Christian world! I read it this morning and it was like greeting an old friend.  In one of my previous churches the pastor was very keen that learning verses wasn’t just something for the children to do but for adults as well.  Each Sunday meeting incorporated a memory verse complete with people standing in a circle and throwing a ball about or jumping along a string cardboard stepping stones as we recited the verse.

I took it a step further, as I often do.  The last line, which was the line we were supposed to remember, I set to music.  Feel free to phone me and ask me to sing it to you if you are so inclined! The tune is Caribbean/ Calypso in nature and I have no idea how I came up with it but it has stuck with me.  I no longer read Ephesians 2:10 but sing it – it’s my default setting now.

One might expect someone to be impressed that I can sing the verse – but I have come to the realisation that singing it is not as impressive as doing it!  You know, those “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I was watching a documentary on Mother Teresa earlier.  She probably couldn’t sing Ephesians 2:10 like I can, but she put it into practice. When God challenged her to step out of a clean and peaceful convent into the streets of Calcutta to serve the poor she obeyed. She did the good works that God had prepared for her. She put herself in a place – not just a physical place on a retreat in Darjeeling – but ion a spiritual place of listening to God and He spoke, not in an audible voice, but clearly enough in her heart for her to act on it. There is a well-documented account in books and magazines of the help she gave to people in Calcutta. She consistently refused to take any credit for her actions saying repeatedly “All for Jesus.”

Some people might frown about some aspects of her life. She responded to people in poverty but did not really address the issue of why people were in such poverty.  Perhaps you can only pick fault with the woman when you have matched her compassion and service.

There have been times when I have heard and responded to God’s call to the “good works” he has prepared for me.  There are other times when I have just fallen into something which may or may not be His “good works”.

Come the end of next month, our church has planned a day away together – a retreat focussed on the “us” part of our Christian walk.  We are in the process of planning how to organise the day to make the most of the opportunity we have to be together. I can’t help thinking about God choosing the time when Mother Teresa was on her retreat to talk to her about His plans for her life. God is still in the business of talking to people about His plans.

I cannot help but sing Ephesians 2:10.  It’s like breathing.  It’s something that I do. But – the greater challenge is to do it. In doing it I change not only the world around me – but I change me too.

No comments: