Last Sunday’s sermon was about our sinful nature and our helplessness before God. We simply cannot save ourselves. We need Jesus and it is a matter of life and death that we believe in him and have faith. For today’s Sanitizer the words from the children’s hymn, “Jesus Loves Me,” come to mind, “Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong.” We are, all of us in the church, those children. We are indeed weak and he is the strongest of the strong. Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29,36) and he is the lamb who rules from the throne. (Rev. 7:17)
But our weakness in salvation is only part of the story. We also have power! God grants us gifts, fruits of the Spirit and power to do good. The church is counted on to bear witness to the cross and resurrection and to testify to the mighty acts of God. And Christians are called upon to work for good in the world and empowered to do just that.
The members of the Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone know this and live out this commission. Feeding the hungry, providing blankets for shivering people, assisting needy families, helping the victims of natural disasters, befriending the lost and lonely, working for the rights of the downtrodden, all of these and more are works of goodness and righteousness and justice in which our church is engaged.
God gives us power for good. Have you ever been in a situation that could turn out very poorly for you and then the persons or persons concerned dealt with you with grace and goodness and love? I have and I’ll bet you have too. That is a power granted to each of us, to be a force for the good outcome in life’s inevitable trials. Approaching situations that could take a bad turn, we need to resolve to use what power we have for the good and to help and serve those others with whom we are involved. Our resolve is insufficient, so we also enlist God’s help through prayer to use us to make things better. (Jn. 14:16)
I once came across the phrase “misery quotient” in my reading. I can’t recall exactly where or who wrote it. The author’s point was this; that we can add to the misery quotient in the world or tip the balance a little in the other direction by doing and saying the right thing. I have always liked that. It is like a balance sheet. On one side is the misery quotient, and the other side the goodness or righteousness quotient. To which would I like my life to add? And we are given many opportunities to help or hinder. Again, don’t be fooled, without God’s help we cannot do this. With his help all things are possible. (Mt. 19:6)
Every day when we open our eyes and get started, we are being given the opportunity to decrease the misery quotient for someone and to add to the goodness quotient in life. God help us to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)
Please pray with me. “Loving God, giver of all good gifts, take us and use us for your kingdom, please make us fruitful with the fruit of the Spirit. Please make us effective and productive in witness and work. Help us not to add an ounce to the misery quotient of the world, but to bring hope, help, health and relief, to your glory. Help us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”