In the midst of the hard work in my life, after reading the following verse a few days ago, I’m reminded of the reality of what God’s grace has done for me.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” – 1 Corinthians 15:10
In order to not speak further on this verse out of line it is important to set its context. Paul was speaking of his place among the contemporaries of his day, many of whom were the core and pillar of the church. And in speaking of his place, he has no shame to state, right before the above verse, that he was the least of all the apostles. The very fact that Paul was on this list was due to the fact that God’s grace over his life was not in vain. But, in the midst of grace he worked harder than any of the other apostles.
I have somewhat of an insight to what Paul speaks of.
My career has been on the fast track compared to many others. It’s not unusual that those with whom I work with on a daily basis and call my peers have far more experience than I do. So, it would be no surprise for me to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” But, can my claim go as far as to say that I work harder than any of my ‘more experienced’ peers?
In the message of the New Testament it’s so easy to soak in the message of grace and yet miss out on our response. This cuts across all realms of life, career, spiritual, marriage etc. Am I a hard worker? Some fall to the extreme of relying on hard work (or works), without a clear glimpse of the very first thing Paul attests to: Grace.
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While some sit on the other extreme not understanding that a response is fitting. I believe if we truly understand grace we’ll be hard workers. Not working to earn grace (because that has already been freely given), but rather taking in grace. Grace as wind for our sails.
Paul ended the latter part of his statement by pointing to the source and enabling for hard work: “Though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.“
Is there some area of your life where you need to set your sail? Some area where leaning on grace, you can work harder than those around you. You can bring glory to our heavenly father. Or do you need some wind boost to your sail? Instead of relying on your own wisdom and strength, soak in God’s grace more? It’s hard imagining doing well on the high sea without both of these. You need the sail and you need the wind.