December 13
Effective Service
1 Corinthians 15
"... I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." (v. 10)

We considered yesterday the story of Fletcher of Madeley who said to a government official: "I want nothing ... except more grace." One wonders what account the official gave when he returned to the Lord Chancellor. "Nothing we can offer seems to attract him. The only thing he wants is more grace!" Dr. W. E. Sangster, in The Pure in Heart, said that all who know God deeply have a high view of grace. They have learned to look at all the values of earth in the light of heaven. They have seen how absurd it is to put their trust in riches, the meaninglessness of angling for applause, credits and titles, and they have come to the conclusion that the only really valuable thing in life is grace.
Few will argue with the fact that the apostle Paul was one of the greatest Christians who has ever lived, and so it is interesting to note from today's passage that he labored for God not in his own strength but in the strength God gave him. The grace of God is essential not only to live a holy life but to live a helpful one also. The best way to serve others is to reach out to them in the strength that God gives to us. This is the point the great apostle is making. "I worked harder ... yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." The work of Christ must be done by Christ Himself for no one else can do it. He who lives in us must labor through us.
O God, how foolish I am to try to labor for You in my own strength. In spurning the grace You provide I do myself and others a disservice. And more -- grieve Your heart. Forgive me dear Father and make me a more reliant person. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was Paul's boast?
2. What did he urge the Corinthians to do?