When I was a boy growing up in the small town of Williamston, one of the things that I was taught early in life was the value of working hard, making your way and earning a living. My family was and still is made up of men and women who believe in working hard, giving 110% and going the extra mile. My Dad and Mom taught and practiced that you always give more than what was paid for. When I was a Boy Scout, we worked hard to complete certain tasks, so we could earn merit badges which we could then display to show everyone how much our hard-work had accomplished.
In recent years, God has been teaching and showing me that while this is a very good thing, it can actually get in the way and corrupt our relationship with Him. What I mean is this, while a good work ethic is valuable in all of our lives. And while it is very important for each person to do their part in earning his or her way in the daily living of life. It is also very important that we realize and understand that there are some things we can’t do.
And these things that we can’t do have been done for us by a loving Father God, Who has always had our best interest and His glory in mind. Somewhere, somehow as I grew up, I began to think that my hard work and due diligence had earned me something in the spiritual realm. After all, I had always heard that God helps those who help themselves. After a number of years of consistent hard work, I began to think that I deserved something more in the spiritual realm. That is, until God decided to take me to school.
One of the first things that God started to teach me about was His Grace. I thought I understood it. I had heard about since I was a little boy in Ms. Dora’s Sunday School Class. We sang about it in some shape or form every Sunday for years. I heard sermons, listened to lessons and even read about it in my very own Bible. I knew about Grace, especially God’s grace – at least I thought I knew.
But what God is teaching me is this: There is so much that I do not know and a lot of what I thought I knew was all wrong. I was confusing the teaching of my upbringing in the physical world with some of what I was learning about life in the spiritual world and often the two are totally different – almost opposites.
Let’s look at the example of grace – what is it exactly? Here’s the best working definition I have some up with thus far: Grace is unmerited, undeserved and unearned favor, pardon, rescue and redemption which produce restoration which allows the relationship. I know that’s a mouthful.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not of works, so that no one can boast.”
Grace then is God’s gift to you and me which gives us what we don’t deserve and have not earned, all with the ultimate purpose of our being able to live in relationship with the One Who created us, sustains us and has an amazing plan for our lives.
Grace is getting what you don’t deserve! Everyday at Grace Place, we give stuff away. It is stuff that the people have not earned and it is stuff that they do not deserve, but they get it, because their getting it is a powerful example and witness of how God desires to give to all of His children.
“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It is a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.” -Dwight L. Moody Grace is the gift of God, a gift is not earned or deserved, it is given and received. Giving is God’s part and receiving is our part. Once we receive this gift of grace then along with it comes a responsibility to grow in it and share it with others.
Take some time today to think about just how much God must love you to give you what you don’t deserve, so that you can live the most amazing and powerful life ever. Don’t waste this sweet gift, grow it for God’s glory by sharing it everywhere and with everyone you can – trust me, you will be glad you did!