Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Cleanse Me"1 (Lyrics)
"Is there anything I can do for extra credit?"
I considered the source and the question, one that I had been asked quite a few times. Occasionally, I consent, but most of the time, I utter a simple "No." What I really want to say is, "If you would do well on the work I assign, you wouldn't need any extra credit."
My schema is such that if students try, they will normally pass. Low test scores are raised by homework and class participation grades. And of course, my grace will dispose of a few low marks. Rarely is extra credit needed when a student is working vigorously … but those asking, normally aren't.
I've discovered the same in my spiritual journey. Though our spiritual rewards differ, God doesn't assign extra credit, because we don't deserve any. Every grade (blessing) that He dispenses proceeds from His grace, not our merit. Referencing a servant's perspective, Jesus said of obedience:
Luke 17:10 – In the same way, when you obey me you should say, "We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty." (NLT)
If I work for God with a slothful attitude, I've missed the purpose of the relationship. If I earn my spiritual grades just to make heaven, I've misunderstood my purpose. And if I'm presently neglecting God while hoping for extra credit to pass the final accounting, I'll be sorely disappointed. God created us for interaction with Him … not forced, but enjoyable. He endowed us with special abilities engineered to be used at a particular time in the world. There's never been another person like you, and no one can complete what God covets you to do at this particular historical moment. Don't look for extra credit; just diligently enjoy doing what God has given you to accomplish. Let us seize every opportunity.
Prayer: Everlasting God, may we be content to do our God-given duty of loving You supremely and others sacrificially. Amen.