Could Do Much Better?
Two things sprang to mind straight away, my work and my unworthiness or guilt!
I've been in Pharmacy for 40+ years and the first 30 years were by and large good but over the last 10 years the profession has got progressively harder and harder. It's not just Covid, but staff cuts and increased workloads have greatly increased the stress levels for all staff. Customer expectations as well, "I ordered my prescription yesterday, is it not ready yet?" Only last week I was verbally abused and felt threatened by a customer whose prescription wasn't even with us yet from the doctors: he thought I was keeping it from him. Increased stress and pressure of work lead to a tired body, both physically and mentally and dim my light too! Some might say that stress however is a lack of faith, if we truly put our trust in God then we shouldn't worry but that's still a work in progress for me.
Life can be hard at times can't it? Do we at any time think or feel that when things go wrong for us that we are being punished for our sins? It's probably quite normal, blame someone else, but it's certainly not accurate. God doesn't punish us when we fail, in fact He says,
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1 v 9
God is a God of love,
"But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love." Psalm 86 v 15
We all make mistakes, some more than others We rely on God's grace, which connects with my second bowl, my feelings of not being worthy.
First of all, what is God's grace? It's the love and mercy given to us by God, not because we deserve it or have done anything to earn it but because God desires us to have it. So straight away that feeling of unworthiness shouldn't come into it, we can never really be worthy!
I'm sure we're all truly thankful for God's grace in our lives, and for ourselves we're so thankful for the love and support of our Brothers and Sisters in the Kendal and Edinburgh Ecclesias.
With all this in mind, the next day I put my music on and the first song played went like this:
"What reason do I have to wake up with the rising sun
And not be held down by the weight of all the things I've done?
What reason do I have to feel this hope instead of hurt?
How can it be I don't receive the judgement I deserve?"
The chorus continues with the answer –
"Wave upon wave of grace upon grace
Endlessly washing my sins away.”
Soon after another song:
"Now the man who needed grace still knows how to make a mess
There's never been a day that you found me perfect
All the grace just keeps on showing me exactly what it is
A gift that goes to those who don't deserve it
And nothing I could ever do
Compares to what's been done for me"
It's amazing, God's love for us and the hope that we have through the Lord Jesus.
I read an acronym for GRACE: God's Riches at Christ's Expense.
Don't think I've heard that before, what do you think?
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:4 - 10
The gift of God, is it then an excuse to continue to sin? Paul tells us in Romans 6 "God forbid". Of course it's not, a wilful desire to continue in sin shows a lack of understanding of God's abundant grace and contempt for Jesus' sacrifice. But that "God forbid”, is that a straight no or is it actually a "Why would you want to do that?" Sin hurts us, it destroys relationships, our health, our finances, our jobs, our emotions, the list goes on and on..... Why would we want to continue to do that? However at times we still do!
I know I should do better, I'm sure we all could to some extent. So what can we do to make our lights shine brighter for those around us?
:- Smile - a great way to share your light, you never know how much you can brighten someone's day with a smile.
:- Be there for a friend - your light could lift them from a dark place they might be in.
:- Be positive - negativity is everywhere so if we focus on being positive and showing our gratitude then hopefully we can be a light to someone.
:- Listen carefully - most listen to respond rather than listen for the sake of listening to help someone.
:- Give genuine compliments - words have so much power, they can make or break someone's day. Compliments share kindness and compassion.
:- Give to charity - give what you can, not out of compulsion but out of sincerity and generosity.
I'm sure we can think of plenty of other ways to shine and do better in our life in Christ.
God created us in His image, He wants us to live a happy life and spread His light and joy to those around us. He doesn't want us living in darkness, instead be a light to those around us and be happy with the life He has given us.