Have you heard someone say, “God helps those who help themselves”? Most folks think that saying comes from the Bible. The truth is, it does not. This often-quoted “proverb” is not found anywhere in scripture. No where.
As it is, you and I know that the Bible teaches us something quite different. We proclaim that God helps all people…deserving and underserving alike. Remember the Exodus story? God rescues the Hebrews from the Pharaoh, and, yes, they have done nothing to deserve freedom. In fact, they mostly resisted God’s efforts to free them. Later, in the book of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people that God had not helped them because they were righteous…because they were not. And in the New Testament the Apostle Paul, in his Letter to the Romans, reminds us that God died to save us even while we were still sinners.
As Lutherans, we teach that God does great things to save us even though we do hardly anything to help our own cause…we state this by the doctrine of “salvation by grace alone.” That is, we do not believe that God helps us because of what we have already accomplished. We do not have to do our part, so to speak, to be saved.
We receive God’s love even though we do not deserve it…that’s grace. How can our response to such good news be anything but gratitude?
This coming month, as we express all that we are grateful for, let’s remember that our celebrations and joys are not found in ourselves or in our accomplishments but rather in God who has graciously reached out, held, and helped we who are undeserving, we who are sinners.
For that, in Christ’s name, let us give thanks and praise to God.
Christ’s Peace, Pastor Steve