Under Worked and Over Paid.

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 57-59; Romans 4

So what are we going to say? Are we going to find that Abraham is our ancestor on the basis of genealogy? Because if Abraham was made righteous because of his actions, he would have had a reason to brag, but not in front of God. What does the scripture say? Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Workers’ salaries aren’t credited to them on the basis of an employer’s grace but rather on the basis of what they deserve. But faith is credited as righteousness to those who don’t work, because they have faith in God who makes the ungodly righteous. In the same way, Abraham also pronounces a blessing on the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from actions:

Happy are those whose actions outside the Law are forgiven,
        and whose sins are covered?
Happy are those whose sin isn’t counted against them by the Lord. (Romans 4:4-8, Common English Bible).

When I left active duty in the Navy I got a job just about as quick as my plane landed at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. I didn’t stay there long. Within the first couple of months, I messed up and lost my job. Almost immediately I got another job working for an uncle. It quickly became obvious this wasn’t going to work, so I left to keep peace in my family.

This time it took me a little time to find another job. I went to work for a southwest Houston movie theater and went back to school. It was the only job I ever had where I could say I was underworked and overpaid (for what I did).  Once the film was run through the projector, the projector started by itself, stopped by itself, and wound up on the next platter. As long as my two screens were up and running, the theater managers would just leave me alone.

My work had little to do with staying busy. It was a great job for a student. You got paid relatively well, for very little work. What I was really paid for was, being able to do something about it when there was a problem. When the film breaks or a bulb blows up in the projector, you had to know what to do and get it done quickly. All in all, it was a great job for going to school.

I was paid, not because the theater just had good people in their management team, they were, but I was paid to be there. I was paid for the knowledge I had. It was accounted to me because I earned it (well sort of).

Paul talks in today’s lesson about how faith is accounted to us as righteousness. We cannot earn or buy God’s grace. We can’t work for it or trade for it or beg, borrow, or steal it. It is ours because God chooses to give that grace to us.

My paycheck every week when I worked for that movie theater, as much as my paycheck in more recent years as a preacher and the paychecks I will get this school year as a teacher are mine because I earned them. I performed a task (hopefully I did it well), and my employer gave me a paycheck, not because my employer was a nice person (and they may well be nice people, hopefully, they are nice people). I earned the paycheck.

God’s grace is a different story. It was never mine to start with. I did nothing to earn it. I will never do anything that will earn it. Yet I have it anyway because I have faith, the faith I have in Jesus Christ.

Think about it this way. If someone walks up to you, out of the blue and hands you a $100 bill. You give them a funny, questioning look. Then they say, “It is my gift to you.” You didn’t earn it but you still have it.

Though much more valuable, God’s grace is like that $100 bill and that person on the street is God. The real question becomes, will you accept the gift.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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