The trouble with “leaving everything else” to God

November 10, 2016


This showed up on a clergy colleague’s Facebook profile. Here’s the response I was tempted to post:

“Everything else”? Good heavens, what’s left?

My point is, apart from the God to whom we “leave everything else,” how do we do any of these things? This meme exemplifies the Pelagian tendency within United Methodism writ large. This is why the message of my previous post about the gospel’s being good news rather than good advice is sorely needed: Christ has done for us what we can’t do for ourselves. If that’s not our starting point, we will make ourselves miserable—or at least difficult to live with.

My prescription? Read Romans 7, stat!

4 Responses to “The trouble with “leaving everything else” to God”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    This is interesting. Certainly God “has his hand” in everything, including any good things that we do. But is it “all of God and none of me” when I do “good things” (such as those referenced here)? If that were the case, from whence cometh the commendations that God gives the saints from time to time? Surely he is not just complimenting himself in some circular fashion. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”, which we all long to hear.

    Indeed, if you think about it, what is God “looking for” to determine his “judgments” come Judgment Day? Is he going to be looking for “His component” or ours? The Parable of the Sheep and Goats focuses on what those who were being judged did. I recognize we are saved by faith, but faith without works is dead, so, as James also said, I will show you my faith by my works.

    So, I don’t think it is necessarily amiss to urge us on to greater steps of Christian behavior (as Peter did), all the while thankful to God for his assistance, and leave to God all the “effects” of such efforts on our part (everything else).

    • brentwhite Says:

      I think it’s the adverbs that trouble me most, Tom. “Love extravagantly.” But I can’t do that without God. “Give generously.” Yeah, right! I can’t do that, either. I guess I would say, “Try to love. Try to give generously… But also trust in the Lord to enable you to do so.”

  2. Grant Essex Says:

    I think the point in the saying is what my deceased mother-in-law used to say frequently:

    “Do the best you can, and leave the rest to God”

    It’s an admission that our best efforts are only just a beginning to righteousness.

    • brentwhite Says:

      Right, Grant, but the “best we can do” can’t include all the things mentioned in this meme, apart from God’s grace. We need to be trusting in the Lord no matter what we’re doing.

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