Devotional Thought of the Day:
15 This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them, 16 but God was merciful to me in order that Christ Jesus might show his full patience in dealing with me, the worst of sinners, as an example for all those who would later believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (TEV)
182 What compassion you feel for them!… You would like to cry out to them that they are wasting their time… Why are they so blind, and why can’t they perceive what you—a miserable creature—have seen? Why don’t they go for the best? Pray and mortify yourself. Then you have the duty to wake them up, one by one, explaining to them—also one by one—that they, like you, can find a divine way, without leaving the place they occupy in society.
There should be, within each of us, the self-awareness that is seen in St. Paul’s words above. The realization that each of us is the worst of those who sin.
We struggle with the guilt and shame that comes from reflecting on our day, and realizing the people we may have hurt, either intentionally, or whom we neglected. The time where we should have helped, and like the priest and Levite on the road, passed by those who are broken and wounded. The times where we wanted what we want, and worked to make it happen, not counting into the equation, their need, their pain, and the fact that God put us there to minister to them.
But if I am, if we are the worst of sinners, barely saved, are we too broken for God to use? St. Josemaria describes it as being a miserable creature, who knows grace, who sees the world passing that offer of love by, unable to see it.
Could God use us, the admittedly broken? Those who sin haunt us, even as we struggle to trust that because of Jesus, we are righteous in the Father’s eyes? Could God use you and me? I mean, it is incredible that He saves us, yet how can we make a dent in the evil and injustice that has people so entangled that they can’t see God? Can God use us to change all that?
Indeed, He can, and does! He has always planned to share with us His incredible work of renewing all of creation. Ephesians 2:10 tells us of this, even verse 8 and 9 assured us of His delivering us from sin. Romans 12:1-8 describes it as well, as we consider the mercy He shows us and then urges us to lay our lives before Him, doing what He has gifted us to do.
It is a miracle, as great of one as God’s delivering us from sin. And it happens to all who depend on Him, all who trust to go where He places them. All who are willing to be humble, and to communicate with God, hearing His voice.
Here is your God, let Him work through you!
And then be amazed, as they find God in their daily lives.
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 974-978). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
“I don’t want you ever to lose your supernatural outlook. Even though you see your own meannesses, your evil inclinations—the clay of which you are made—in all their raw shamefulness, God is counting on you.” (1)
There are times, when I am about to start a sermon, or a Bible Study, or say the words of institution and serve the people of God the Feast He has prepared for them, that I have a moment of panic.
What am I doing up here? Why do I think I have the role to “play” at being a pastor.
I know myself, well, not really. I think I do. As described in the quote above, I see my own issues, my own frailty, and there is a tendency to focus on those things. And when I do, it makes no sense that God would call me, use me, work through me…. work in me. How could something so sacred work in something so… human, fallible, broken. It is a challenge that I often feel – and I am not alone. A pastor with over 30 years experience and I were talking about this very thing – and he noted he even once consulter a psychiatrist about the nerves and issues he goes through, as he is about to preach….
Such thoughts I know as well – go through the mind of people who aren’t pastors, who know God is nudging them to do something – whether it is something grand like heading to the mission field, or something even more scary – like inviting their neighbor to church. Or reaching out to that busybody or grouch at work, or challenging the dysfunction in their family, as they desire to bring God’s healing and peace to where it has been never known before. And in the back of their minds, just as in pastors…there lingers doubt – not of God’s will or God’s faithfulness, but of our suitability to be used by God for something holy.
To you (and to I) the words of St Paul bring…a reduction of anxiety, and a quite assurance that God can.. and will provide all we need to see His will accomplished.
15 Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; 16 and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the leading example of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who were later to trust in him for eternal life. 17 To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NJB)
If God can take a murderer like Paul, or a murdering alduterer like King David, and transform them, equip and empower them to do what God accomplished through them… then indeed He can do what He is calling us to let Him accomplish through our lives. He is counting on you – not to do things by your own intellect or power, but simply to follow His lead..to allow His love to work through you…
For then like Paul, you will see that all honor and glory is His, even as He invites us to dwell with Him in it.
One last thought blessings.. for this day:
20 I pray that the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, 21 may prepare you to do his will in every kind of good action; effecting in us all whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen! Hebrews 13:20-21 (NJB)
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1934-1935). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.