Mr. Merit, Tear Down That Wall

Mr. Merit, Tear Down That Wall!

Read Romans 3

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God–not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9, NRSV)

Many people in America, and even around the world, have been paying close attention to the U.S. presidential campaigns.  All one has to do is turn on the T.V. and you will see news coverage, campaign ads, and even political satire of the two campaigns. The other night, I was watching the second debate between President Obama and his opponent, Mitt Romney. Though the forum was set up as a town hall meeting, the two candidates were very aggressive toward each other. There were multiple moments where both candidates were in each other’s faces, pointing their fingers at each other, and accusing the other as not telling the truth.

In all of the debates so far, and this would be true for all election-year debates, the candidates try to point out each other’s records, and where they failed to live up to the American people’s expectations. Mitt Romney is trying to show how President Obama failed to live up to the promises he made in his 2008 campaign. Conversely, President Obama is trying to show that Mitt Romney’s record points to an overly rich guy who has a long-founded interest in helping the wealthy get wealthier at the cost of the middle-class and the poor. He is trying to show that Mitt Romney will not live up to the expectations of the American people.

Now, the point of this devotional is not to get political in any way; however, this current presidential campaign, and really all such campaigns, is saying something about us as an American culture. It is saying that merit means a lot to us as Americans.  If you are successful and worth your weight in salt, we will vote for you. If you are perceived as a failure, we will not.  And this is not true for just politics. It is true in our jobs, in our sports, and in just about every other aspect of our lives. We very much participate in what is called a meritocracy, and for politics, business, sports and other performance driven things, it is understandable why merit is valued.

What is sad, however, is that meritocracy has also become a part of the Christian church! Even in the church we look toward success and merit. We hold people “accountable” (even though Paul went through lengths to state that love takes no account), we keep record of people’s success and failures, and we judge people based off of their performance in ministry and other aspects of the church.  Now that is not to say that we should not correct people when they are wrong, or walk along side of people with the hope of guiding them toward successful ministry; however, there is a fine line between that and becoming an institution of merit.

What should be clear to us, as evidenced in Scripture, is that in the Kingdom of Heaven there is no meritocracy. If God were to demand of us to show our merit, according to God’s standard, we would all fail that test.  None of us are going to be seeking to “show God our merit” on that final day; rather, we are going to be asking God to show us his grace and mercy. If that is the case, then shouldn’t we be ditching a system of meritocracy for one of mercy and grace? Shouldn’t we be accepting all people, not on the basis of merit, but on the basis of God’s love them? God’s challenging us to tear down the walls of merit that the world has instilled in us from birth, and allow God to lay down the foundation of mercy, grace, and unconditional love for all people. This is God’s message for us today.

God is not merit; God is unconditional love.

Lord, help me to tear down the walls of merit in my life and replace them with your foundation of love and grace. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Mr. Merit, Tear Down That Wall!”

  1. This devotion is so true. Unfortunately, we do see the walls of merit in our churches, but with messages like yours, Pastor Todd, those walls can begin to come down.

  2. Absolutely true! We need to show God’s love wherever we are and in everything we are doing and by doing so we open an pathway for God to do His work in them and in us. What a wonderful world this would be if we could just love others the same way God loves us with no stipulations, limitations, expectations or conditions attached to it. Just letting God work through us and He gets the credit for touching others with His Love using our arms, voices, and actions in helping His creation to know Him better in a very personal way. By doing this, the people who have experienced God’s grace and love will want to pass it on to others in the same way and ultimately it will become a domino effect from person to person. It is so wonderful to know that a person on this earth can love you just the way you are and help you to hurdle over situations in giving them hope and understanding just as God shows us on a daily basis. When we are willing and ready to reach out to connect with people in any given situation then God takes it the rest of the way. He connects with them in the most personal way ever. All we need to do is to be willing to be there for Him so he can take care of the rest. We are HIS Church and we should always be willing and ready to do whatever it takes for others to feel and experience His presences through us. Miracles will happen indeed! 🙂 We are all His children …. His creation and He loves us all equally no matter what we wear or how we look — He loves us unconditionally!

    Love this devotional and I do hope and pray that people do come to reaching out and touching with God’s love everywhere. By just doing that much for God you never know how far He will take it from there but I do know it will make a great big difference in that individuals life and leave an everlasting impression on their hearts for the rest of their lives. God will be so happy with us in doing so too.

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