Sufficient Grace

My journey through life in God's grace.

Essential vs. Non-essential

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Bible+Reading“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered.  “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, indeed only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.”   Luke 10:41-42

One of the sins I have to repent of often is making plans and asking the Lord to bless them instead of seeking His will for me.

I was guilty of this a few weeks ago. As president of our church council this year, I have been writing a letter each month to share with the congregation. In April I had the topic and several ideas written out. I was planning to finish it one Saturday after doing some yard work at the lake.

The Lord’s schedule for me was different that day.

Many things in our lives have been rearranged in the past few months and new words have entered everyday vocabulary—self-quarantine, social distancing, essential and non-essential businesses and activities.

We’ve all been forced to give up things that we thought were extremely essential not long ago. The loss of some things has caused anxiety and chaos, and life is more stressful for many. The “stuff” of this life that we put so much stock in has become quite non-essential in the face of pandemics and economic uncertainty.

What is essential is our relationship with Jesus. No matter what storms come our way, jobs that are lost, days and weeks and months separated from friends, our God is bigger than any of them and has promised to be with us.

I heard someone speaking last week about “vampire Christians”—those who just want the blood of Jesus, not the relationship. My prayer is that many of us are growing closer to Jesus during these challenging days and deeper into relationship with Him.

C. S. Lewis in his classic, “The Screwtape Letters” clearly describes Satan’s tactics of distraction. Screwtape, a senior demon, offers advise to his apprentice nephew, Wormwood. “But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy (Jesus). It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.”

Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10. Satan subtlety distracts us with non-essentials that eventually replace that which is eternal.

That Saturday in April, as I sat on my mom’s bed looking at her small, frail body, I was reminded powerfully how non-essential everything in this life is except Jesus. Her soul had gone home to heaven.

I sorted through a few drawers and her closet. As I left with two paper sacks filled with mostly family photos and a blanket quilted by Hospice volunteers, the sum total of her “essential items”, I was comforted that, not only did she know the Lord, but she had brought me to church and raised me in the faith as well.

God is essential. He knows the number of our days here on earth. At the end of those days, whenever that may be, our relationship with Him is the only essential thing and the only lasting thing.

Lord help us all to number our days, to put all our hope and trust in You. Forgive us for relying too often on our strength and wanting our way and not Your will. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may be drawn into a deeper relationship with You and to always remember You are the one essential in all of our lives. We ask this in Jesus holy name. Amen.

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