Help not wanted

This is my article that was published today in the Natoma-Luray Independent section of The Russell County News and will be published tomorrow in The Plainville Times.

One day at seminary, a group of us met and tried to get a softball game started; by just as we were about to pick teams, the bread truck arrived at the food bank, and the call went out for help unloading it.  Slowly, everyone who had gathered to play softball, made their way over and helped unload the truck.

Why did we go over and help?  We were technically in the middle of our own event.  We went over for the same reason that you cannot stop yourself from helping someone carry their groceries into the house; for the same reason you cannot stop yourself from helping someone carry their drink and plate of food to their table at a soup supper; for the same reason you cannot stop yourself from lending a hand to whoever may be in need, even when it is an inconvenience to yourself.

By nature, we want to help out with anything we can.

And so it stands to reason that we want to help Jesus.  Jesus did the hard part by dying on the cross and rising from the dead; now it is our turn to help out.  Now it is our turn to do something for Jesus and help bring about our own salvation.

But here is the problem: you are not helpful when it comes to your salvation.  In fact you are the exact opposite of helpful; you are a detriment.  You do more to harm your salvation then you could ever do to help your salvation.

The hard truth is that your heart is a block of stone that is painted black; in which you and Satan have conspired together to block the door and make sure that no matter what, Jesus is not going to come in and interrupt your life of sin that you so dearly enjoy.

But that is exactly what happens: Christ kicks down the door of your heart, marches in and plants His flag claiming you as His own dear child, marked with the sign of the holy cross.  Christ does not need your help; He needs you to get out of the way, to stop trying to help, and to merely confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but that is what saved by grace alone means.  Christ does it without any of your help at all.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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