On the Side - February 2016
By: Sharon Chatwell
We Christians often secretly wonder if we are good enough.
I think it’s especially true for those of us who are high-achievers. I’m saying this to you because most of the physicians’ wives I know are beautiful, well-educated, articulate women, who excel in their own occupations and ministries, and take excellent care of their homes and families.
But they don’t usually stop there. They are also dedicated community leaders; volunteering their time, efforts, and talent in any number of important areas.
You probably do all of these things and don’t even think twice about it. Yep… you’re a high-achiever.
Don’t feel bad. You are talented and gifted. You have a lot to offer, and you genuinely do have a lot of responsibilities. As I once told an attentive group of physician’s wives, “We are the people who take care of the people who take care of everyone else.” (It’s a great motto. I think we should have T-shirts made up.)
We do a lot. And we carry a lot of responsibility. We are able to do lots of things, so therefore we think we are supposed to do lots of things. The problem is that often we end up taking on more and more; sometimes in an effort to be “good enough.”
It’s a natural next step to think that’s how we are supposed to do things with God.
We may be tempted, as Christians, to wonder if we are doing enough. We may take on more and more responsibilities; maybe even out of a sense of “guilt.” And, if we are not careful, we may end up trying to do things for God in our own power. Tragically this can lead to unending busyness, which may not be fruitful or even gratifying.
How do we keep this from happening?
We read our Bible. And we try to understand the reality of God’s GRACE.
Ephesians 2 tells us a lot about grace and works, and why we can relax in God’s provision for us through Jesus Christ. In verses 8-10 the discussion wraps up with these words, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I take great comfort from this passage, for at least two reasons.
First, it tells us clearly that we are not saved by our works. There is no bar set in heaven which we must continually jump over in order to be saved. We are saved by grace alone. It is God’s grace that saves us, through faith, and even that is a gift. We are saved by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Second, it tells us that God has things for us to do. (How exciting!) And He has prepared these things in advance. These good works aren’t something that we have to figure out and come up with on our own. And we don’t have to do them in our own power. They are things that God has prepared in advance for us to do and, through His Holy Spirit, He will certainly provide the power to do them.
These good works that God has planned for us to do may not always seem big. They may include things as simple as packing our child’s lunch, or kissing our spouse good-night. But, I have found that it is often in the completion of my simplest responsibilities that I find the greatest joy. And it shouldn’t surprise us that God often works through these smaller things to reveal His will for us; as He steadily leads us into the other good works that He has prepared for us to do.
By submitting to do the things that God has plainly set before us, we often make ourselves available to be involved with some of the biggest of miracles in our lives.
It is amazing what God can do with 5 loaves and 2 little fishes.
Offer God the little things you do each day, and He will faithfully lead you into all the things He has prepared in advance for you to do. And, don’t be surprised if these things are bigger than you ever thought possible. One day soon you may look back and say, “Amazing! Look at all that God has accomplished!”
And it will be good enough.
Sharon is a reformed over-achiever who has learned about grace. The children’s church lessons she once wrote (simply because her kids wouldn’t sit still in church) are now part of a website that people all over the world can access and use. She recommends that you offer all your loaves and fishes to Jesus.