SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2013.
“I will never again curse the ground because of man…neither will I ever strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease,” Gen. 8v21-22.
RECENTLY, St Peter’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Asaba celebrated their annual harvest thanksgiving. The Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Justus Mogekwu, together with the planning committee of the harvest for the year chose as their theme: ‘Harvest of Bounteous Grace’. In it, they acknowledged the goodness of the Lord in all facets of their lives.
Preaching later in the service, the Rector of Ibru Centre, Ven. Ernest Onuoha observed that: ‘God is the author of harvests’. He stressed that in Genesis 8v20-22, the man called Noah gave an offering, which was pleasing to God and because of that, God decreed: ‘seed time and harvest time shall never cease.’ Ever since then, harvest has been celebrated to appreciate God and His innumerable blessings bestowed on mankind.
Continuing, he said, the word ‘grace’ sometimes is used interchangeably with the word ‘favour’. Grace on one hand, is what we do not qualify for, it is an unmerited favour, whereas, favour on the other hand is an unmerited grace. This grace of God in one’s life is irrespective of one’s status, academic attainment or material possession. It just comes.
When the grace of God is upon someone, that person will no longer be struggling, suffering, complaining, murmuring and so on. The grace of God certainly opens the way for His children. A tenant can suddenly become a landlord, a messenger can become the general manager and even a maid in a home can become a First Lady; that is the grace of God for you.
In Luke 5v1-11 particularly verse 5, it says: ‘Simon answered and said, Master, we toiled all night, and took nothing: but at thy word I will let down the nets.’ Yes, Simon toiled in vain, but when the grace of God came upon Him and those with Him, they made a large catch of fish. Of course, he was quick to say to Jesus: ‘at thy word I will let down the nets.’ I want to announce to somebody today your toiling will never again be in vain. The years of the cankerworm and the devourer are over, for the grace of God shall overshadow you in Jesus name, Amen.
We serve a God that is an impossibility specialist. Gen. 18v14: ‘God said to Sarah, is there anything too hard for me, at the appointed time, I shall return to you.’ By the grace of God, no situation no matter how bad will remain permanent because at God’s appointed time, His grace must surely change our circumstance for good.
It is interesting to note that the Apostle Paul spoke extensively on this grace of God. Such we can deduce from his epistles through his greetings and benediction to individuals and Churches.
What do we have, as children of God that is not by His grace? What is sustaining us if not the grace of God? Nigeria, despite negative predictions and signs has not broken up. Also, families with avalanche of challenges: unemployment, kidnapping, hunger, intractable sickness and so on are still surviving. There is no doubt that God’s bounteous grace is sufficient for His children.
May this season therefore bring on our way all the bounteous grace of God even as we prepare to celebrate the Christmas.Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.