Ditch #1- Little Effort Required: this is a cheap or sloppy grace. It says that God has this thing under control therefore he requires nothing of his people. There are some truths to this statement as well as lies. Jesus never said “everything is gonna be alright”, that was Bob Marley.
Ditch #2- Faith = Effort: On the other side of the ditch we see folks who work so hard to believe and to show others they believe. Fueled by guilt, shame or legalism, this way of living is exhausting. Jesus never said “hey fella, just try a little harder!”
So what does it look like to live between these two ditches? How do we both rely on the sovereignty of God and fully participate in His work?
Dag Hammarskjold has influenced my thinking in a helpful way as I understand effort and following Jesus.
“Your own efforts “did not bring it to pass, ” only God– but rejoice if God found a use for your efforts in His work. Rejoice if you feel that what you did was “necessary” but remember, even so, that you were simply the instrument of which He added one tiny grain to the Universe He has created for His own purposes.”
As you read this today, know that the God of the cosmos wired you and repurposed you for something significant. It may involve getting on a plane to an obscure village, but most likely your mission or call to be faithful is within a mile or so from where you live or work. May God use our efforts for his purpose and may we never believe that what we do is more important than Who we follow.
Will you pray with me?
Hallowed be Thy name, not mine
Thy Kingdom come, not mine
Thy will be done, not mine
Give us peace with Thee
Peace with men
Peace with ourselves,
And free us from all fear.
– Dag Hammarskjold