God is as concerned with the good we could do as with the wrong we shouldn’t do. Ellen White addresses this in The Great Controversy in the chapter, “The Scriptures a Safeguard.” She argues that too many people
congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer His expectation by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done, through His grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads. (pp.601-602)
- Do I have a sense that I have “slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace”? What is a positive response to this realization?
- How has God gifted me? What passions has God given me and refined in me? What experiences have shaped my abilities and sensibilities?
- What spiritual gifts has God given me? How can I explore these more?
- How can I use all I have and am to best do good in the world–promote peace and justice, demonstrate compassion and mercy, encourage forgiveness and reconciliation, care for God’s created world, nurture health and healing, foster hope and courage, support the next generation?
- What internal and external forces hold me back? What tools–like prayer and community support–might God use to “strengthen me with His grace” in order to help me overcome these obstacles? Who benefits when God helps me overcome?