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.
Charlene sat in a chair in the Roseland Christian Ministries shelter. She stared straight ahead, her eyes grew heavy, and her head nodded as she dozed off. Earlier she had received a methadone treatment to push back the withdrawals from her addiction to heroin.
Across from Charlene was Kimberly, shuffling through a bag full of papers, envelopes, and legal pads. She suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. She talks to voices in her head, sleeps in abandoned buildings, and has trouble taking care of herself physically.
Visitors to Roseland Christian Ministries often ask whether or not the people who come there for services work for a living. “When will they get jobs?” we sometimes hear. Questions like that seem to imply that a person’s worth is based mainly on the work they do. When people ask such questions, they probably don’t mean any harm, but it’s important to know that God sees the whole person, not just what they can do or whether they have a job.
I am grateful to have a good work ethic. But I am certain that God’s measure for us is not limited to our work ethic.
Charlene has since moved into a rehabilitation facility. She is three weeks clean and sober. We are grateful that the Spirit is raising her back to life after being nearly dead for so long.
Lord, we thank you for the gift of life and all the ways you care for us. Thank you for not basing salvation on our works. In Christ, you love us freely. Amen.
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