September 27, 2017

Thanks for Grace

Romans 14:1-8

Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

—  Romans 14:6

Whatever we do, says Paul, we do for the Lord. Paul is ­addressing differences in people who were part of the church in Rome. Some were meat eaters, and others believed it was more holy not to eat meat. The problem wasn’t with what they were doing, because both groups were carrying out their faith practices with dedication and thanksgiving to God. The problem was in how they judged one another.

I remember noticing as a child how our neighbors who were Catholic went to church on Saturday evenings and mowed their grass on Sunday. My family mowed our grass on Saturday and went to church on Sunday. That memory came home to me recently as I visited with an 88-year-old Irish Catholic ­woman who had grown up near the church I serve. We laughed as she told me that it took her a while to realize that it was possible to be a Christian even if you weren’t an Irish Catholic. We shared about our faith stories, and we both spoke of our love for Jesus. We also both admitted that earlier in our lives we would have thought of each other as outside the loving embrace of God. How wrong we had been!

All that we have and are comes from God and belongs to God. Therefore we are blessed as God’s people when all that we do is done in dedication and thanksgiving to God.

Gracious God, may all that I do and say today be filled with grace and give glory to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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