“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Hopefully, if you read last week’s post you felt the love of God in a fresh way. Today, I’m praying you jump out of your shoes as you recall, or perhaps experience for the first time, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this story helps you realize how truly blessed you are.
Not long ago a young boy and his parents traveled many miles so the boy could undergo an intricate surgery to correct a birth defect. His three homeschooled siblings remained back home with their grandparents. Grandmother eagerly accepted the challenge of carrying on the homeschooling while mom remained at the hospital.
Grandmother’s house, like most others, was the place where grandchildren could be kids. They played their favorite games, ate their favorite food, and got to stay up late. But then, things changed. Grandmother became Teacher. The children’s haven became a schoolhouse. Grandmother could no longer give the children free reign. There were lessons to learn. Work to be done. Books to read. Grandmother knew some rules needed to be established.
Day One began with chart paper and a felt-tipped marker. Grandmother only wanted two things: to be listened to, and for the children to get along. She solicited their help in making a list of rules they thought they could follow in order to have peacefully productive days. Quickly came the shouts as the marker hit the paper, “Listen”, “Don’t hit”, “Do your work”, and “Don’t complain”. These, along with several others, were posted on the wall as reminders.
Then came the surprise! Each child was given ten pennies. Each time a rule was broken a penny had to be given up. However, an act of kindness done without being told could earn back the lost penny. If, on the day before Mommy came home, they still had ten pennies they would receive a $5 Wal-Mart gift card. The kids were all in. They were certain they could keep all the rules.
But they couldn’t.
There were many great days, but others held tears, tantrums, and turmoil. Finally, the Day of Reckoning came. Pennies were counted.
No one had ten.
Grandmother felt their shame as they sat with heads hung low. She reminded them of the deal they had made. They expressed their sorrow about how they really thought they could keep all the rules.
After a few moments of silence, Grandmother quietly said, “You didn’t earn your $5 gift card.”
Heads hung even lower.
“However! I do have something for you.”
Eyes lifted and widened as Grandmother handed each of them a $20 bill. They didn’t understand. The two oldest hesitantly took theirs. The youngest giggled and clapped. Then one of the boys said, “Here. You can have mine back. I don’t deserve it. I didn’t have all my pennies.”
Grandmother smiled and explained, “You know, when you made all those rules I knew you’d never be able to keep them. I knew you would try, and try even harder to do good things to make up for the wrong things. But you are just kids. You can’t be perfect. So, because I love you so much I’m willing to give you more than you deserve – more than you expected. Do you know what that’s called?”
“Exactly! That’s what God did for all of us when He sent Jesus. Because of Jesus, God gives us more than we deserve – more than we can even ask for or imagine. You can never do enough to earn grace. All you need to do is accept it. So, will you take this $20 and know how much I love you?”
He smiled and took it.
None of us can ever do enough to cover our mistakes. We can’t become pure and sinless without allowing Jesus’ blood to cover them. We do that by surrendering our will for His. That’s when He gets a heart He can lead.
I love Titus 2:11-12:
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. IT teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Grace is our teacher. Learning that we’ve been set free from sin’s power fills us with incredible gratitude. Experiencing God’s unconceivable and undeserved blessings allows us to bless others. That’s when we reap heaps of benefit from doing the two things God wants from us – to love Him and to love His other children.
I hope you have on brightly colored socks today because remembering the blessing of grace will make your feet leave your shoes! Smile. Take hold of God’s priceless, undeserved gift, and you WILL be a blessing! You can’t help yourself! Happy Tuesday, everyone!