Scripture Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. –Romans 5:1-5
My house was built in 1923 with a crawl space foundation. Slabs were apparently not in vogue or perhaps even possible then, and basements are rare in Oklahoma. Several years ago, I bought two tall bookcases and when there were set up along a west wall in my living area they immediately formed a V. My floor had apparently shifted. I learned a new word in this process. I was told I needed shims. A shim is a thin piece of wood, metal, or stone that is often tapered, used to fill in the space necessary to make something that is leaning level. Having been a waitress in high school and college, I was well acquainted with the process. Table legs are notorious for magically attaining differing lengths resulting in the table rocking a bit. The “shim” most often used in restaurants to correct this problem in an emergency and in my experience, is a well-sized and folded paper napkin.
Faith is the shim in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Being justified by faith through the grace of God, we are enabled to share the love of God with perseverance and hope. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. I do not disagree with him. Enthusiasm is important and there are other factors too. I think Paul illustrates his life experience well in our scripture today. Nothing great ever gets done without a lot of hard work, taking two steps forward and one step back, and a total commitment to the mission while not sweating the small stuff.
Prayer: God of Justice and Mercy, enable us to do the work of your love with enthusiasm but also with a commitment to seeing it through to completion. Amen.