On Thursday nights there is a prayer meeting at church that I want to want to go to. There is no typo there. I find it hard to get there – it’s the end of the day, I’ve usually used up all my emotional energy, I don’t want to leave my warm and comfortable house and have to talk to anyone anymore. This is no reflection on the people who are there – they are some really close friends of mine, or on the quality of the meeting – it’s an awesome time (in the true sense of the word). I just often find it hard to lever myself out of the house and go.
I went last night though. I put on my jacket and walked down to the chapel in the dark. Past the supermarket with the final remnants of Easter shoppers stocking up for the public holiday, past the small group of people waiting in the council carpark for the Vinnie’s van to come and give them free bread, and down to the chapel with it’s beautiful windows all lit up from the inside.
The door was locked.
Well, that was ok, the leaders usually walk in through the big church and up into the chapel, I’ll keep walking around the courtyard and to the other door and…
That door’s locked too.
At that point I smiled, and turned for home, grateful for the walk and grateful for the night off.
When I got home I told the boys that it was cancelled and said, ‘I get all the brownie points for going without having had to stay’. Then we all laughed. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.
Sometimes we think that all our good works are like a bridge to heaven. But if they are like a bridge across a chasm, they are like a rope bridge that is slightly too short. No matter what we do, we will not be good enough to reach the other side. And a rope bridge that is only attached to one side of a chasm is more like a ladder down into a pit.
That’s the good news. That is the news I celebrate each Good Friday. My works are not good enough and God did something about it. Something that cost him everything, that caused him intense pain such as I will never experience, and something that is enough.
Because of Jesus’ death on the cross I have a way to cross that chasm. I can talk to God now. I can know his love for me.
I no longer have to ‘scrabble, scrape and scrooge’ my way through. I don’t have to be in control. I don’t have to beat myself up for every little error I make. I don’t.
It’s not a licence to be evil, not at all. But now, when I do good, when I try to be good, I am coming from a position of gratefulness and wanting to return to God just a smidgeon of what he has wonderfully done for me.
Sometimes I forget and I start to try to work my way into God’s good books. But folks, that is really not how it works. The bible talks about our names being written in the book of life and that’s the only good book that matters. The only thing I had to do to get there was repent and believe.
I don’t know where you stand today. But if you’re not in that book of life, I want to encourage you that it’s wonderful to know that you’re safe. And if you know your name is written in the book, let’s rejoice in what our wonderful Saviour has done for us and forget about boasting in our good works.
No brownie points needed here.