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


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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