Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just His Work, Please

I stopped at Starbucks to get a cup of a chai tea this morning after an early hike with a friend. Most people, it turns out, order chai lattes rather than plain tea. When I ordered tea, the lady behind the counter said, "A chai latte?"

I said, "No, just the tea, please."

She smiled and said, "Oh, would you like it misto?" (Misto, I was thinking - what is that? Tea with steamed milk, apparently. Clearly I don't stop at a coffee shop very often.)

"No, thank you. All I want is the tea bag and some water." She said, "Oooooh, ok." A few minutes later, she added, "Would you like honey with your tea?" I said, a little frustrated now, "No, I would just like tea, please."

Finally, I received my cup of plain chai tea - just a tea bag and hot water. Certainly, like black coffee, plain tea is an acquired taste, and apparently not one that many Americans have based on my experience. We love to add sugar and milk to make something a little more interesting or tasty.

I wonder if we often choose to do this to the gospel. I see it my own heart. Like the Galatians, I want Jesus. But I want my work to count for something too. Tea with milk and honey; the gospel with Jesus and my obedience. You know - if I read my Bible, that means the Lord is more pleased with me and more likely to listen to my prayers, right? But the gospel is Jesus only, not Jesus and anything else. My standing, our standing, before the Father is based solely on His work. My works are because of Jesus and because of my standing, not to earn them.

And praise God that it is, since our work isn't very impressive anyway, and is only a result of His grace. So may we not ask for our gospel with anything else - no milk or honey to make it sweeter to our ears. Today, may our prayer be, "Just Your work, Jesus, and none of mine. May I know the Father's satisfaction through Your life and death, not my own."

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