August 12, 2008 - Tuesday of the 12th Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 28:3–25; 1 Corinthians 6:1–20

. . . Our sufficiency is from God . . .” (2 Corinthians 3:5b)

In an age when we are encouraged to look to ourselves for the strength that we need to accomplish great things, these words of St. Paul are in conflict with such thinking. Whether we are talking about the gurus of positive thinking or the “name-it-and-claim-it” crowd, both look to something within man in order to affect the desirable outcome. That means that both lead people away from the gracious work of God in the lives of people.

The inventor, Samuel F. B. Morse, must have had an understanding of this in his own life. Using modern communication of his day, and I don’t mean the cell phone, he used a series of dots and dashes (Morse Code), to tap out the world’s first message on a new device called the telegraph. Sitting in Washington, DC, his message went to Baltimore, MD. Here’s what he said, “What hath God wrought!” He didn’t boast in his own accomplishments. With humility he gave recognition where recognition was due. He looked to the gracious work of God in his own life.

That’s what Paul is doing in today’s reading. He knows that whatever he does begins and ends with God. God the Father sent His Son as the sacrifice for all sins, even an unworthy Paul. God is the One who called Paul to faith, and God is the One who continues to work through Paul to accomplish His purposes for the sake of the Gospel.

Each of us, called by God through Holy Baptism, should realize the same thing. God is at work. Buried with Christ in our Baptism, we are raised to newness of life in Christ that we may serve Him in righteousness and holiness forever. Therefore, in all that we do and accomplish, it is not us, but God at work in and through us. It is God who brings us to faith, and it is God who keeps us in our faith. We have no claim to anything as coming from us. Our sufficiency is from God.

The dying Lord our ransom paid, one final full self-offering made, complete in every part. His finished sacrifice for sins the covenant of grace begins, the law within the heart. (LSB 530 v. 2)