Thursday, August 27, 2009

All You Need

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (1 Cor. 1:7).

As of last night every member of my family has a laptop computer. Most parents fear that as their children approach adolescence meaningful conversation will cease. A fifth grader with a laptop virtually guarantees it.

Last year my son was issued a computer on the first day of school, and last night it was my daughter’s turn. Having lived her entire life watching her older brother do everything first, she’d been waiting for last night for the past twelve months.

Getting the laptop is a big deal that requires a parents meeting and a brief orientation session with the resident computer guru at the school. For the fifth graders it’s a social event in which the party favor as you leave is a 13 inch Mac Powerbook.

“Daddy, we’re going to be late.”

I reminded my daughter that I had done this last year and that I knew from experience that we wouldn’t miss anything that really mattered. My assurances fell on deaf ears. Maybe fifth grade is when a daughter begins suspecting that her Father is intent on ruining her life.

We sat through the orientation meeting, my daughter squirming beside me because we ran just late enough to make her miss the chance to sit with her friends. My son was slumped in his seat, trying to look cool because now he’s in middle-school and he’s a pro at having a laptop. And me, I slipped off into a private nostalgic reverie for just a few moments.

I tried to remember fifth grade. It’s really not that hard. My teacher at Highland Springs Elementary School was Mrs. Treadway. I was on the safety patrol. And there were no laptop computers.

I’m amazed at the resources my children have for their education. I’m blown away by what they can do and what they have access to. They have everything they need in order to learn. But the learning is not guaranteed. Having resources and getting an education are two different things.

In the opening lines of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminds them that they “do not lack any spiritual gift.” Again, as with his reminder of their call to holiness, Paul is seeing something that would not have been readily to evident to you and me had we been in Corinth. The Corinthian church looked spiritually bankrupt. But Paul saw abundance. They had everything they needed to be the people God had called them to be.
Knowing that, Paul was able to day “I always thank God for you.”

Genuine gratitude is rooted in what God does. Paul was convinced that grace was at work among the Corinthians. At the moment, however, they were not living out what grace had worked into them. It’s like having a laptop and getting an education. The mere possession of a machine won’t make learning happen.

Today you have exactly what you need to live the life God calls you to live. You’ve been given the gift of the Spirit and the Spirit empowers you to be the person God calls you to be. You lack nothing. You have all you need. But grace will never exempt you from growth and learning. That’s why we undertake daily practices like prayer and reading God’s word and pondering what God has said to us. Grace is there everyday, always adequate for the needs and demands of your life. And for that you can give thanks.

Is there some aspect of your life where you are most aware of needing grace today?

With every new day, O God, teach us to live by your grace. Grant to us an awareness and deep assurance that your Spirit lives within us and we are not left to make it through the day as best we can mange. You have given us all we need to live the life you call us to live, and we give you thanks through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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