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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, March 4, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

We entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says,

“At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.”

See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (NRSV)

Reflection
If I were to take the prescription drugs that are advertised, it appears that I would be able to play tennis, help my grandchildren learn to ride a bike, dance, and dig in my garden. I wonder if it matters that I cannot do any of those things now. Those ads assure that a good life is in reach with a prescription drug. At the very end of the ad, a voice in a quickened pace, reads all the potential downsides and side effects. The list is daunting! Does my desire to dance and garden warrant my suffering through the potential side effects? For people longing to maintain or return to their preferred way of life, that is a powerful question to consider.

This passage entreats us to be reconciled to God. The writer then engages in a bit of truth in advertising: hardships, calamities, beatings, and sleepless nights. Yet there is also knowledge, patience, kindness, and genuine love. The “good life” is within reach, but there are going to be some side effects. It is unlikely that any life is exclusively delightful without also enduring some struggle. The last line punctuates the both-and nature of our life of faith: sorrow and rejoicing, poor and rich, possessing nothing and yet possessing everything.

I appreciate the balanced picture and would do well to remember that balance—especially in times of struggle. Perhaps even more importantly, I need to remember that all reconciliation, all of the good life, is a gift from God. It is something I neither earn nor deserve except that God is good, merciful, and pure love. The question is powerful. What are the “side effects” of a life of faith and am I still willing to pursue it?

Prayer
God of grace and mercy, as I count the cost of discipleship, keep my mind and heart fixated on what is truly a good life. When the cost feels too high, grant me the ability to sink into the peace of your love. Amen.

Written by Andrea Denney, Executive Director of Operational Ministries

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