Yesterday, a small group of “just girls” sat around my dining room table celebrating my mother’s 75th birthday. I hope I’m as entertaining as she is when I hit that milestone! We laughed and made fun of each other in ways only a bunch of women understand. One of the funniest things I heard was the rumor that I am opening a catering business at the farm. If you really know me, you know that’s knee slapping, bent double, snortingly funny. Me? Preparing food for a crowd? What a hoot!! Since it took me a good part of the day to get ready for a small table-full, I decided to re-run a blog post today. It fits the upcoming season and who doesn’t like being reminded of God’s overwhelming grace!! Thanks for reading and enjoy the week!
Today’s post was originally intended to be a section in the chapter on grace in Everyday Heroes. Since it’s a women’s Bible study, I decided to take it out because I’ve heard that not every woman loves football as much as my little group of friends. Go figure! Anyway, I decided to use it for my post today instead. If you’re one of my guy readers, just pardon all the references to women.
Look inside for a minute, and find that little-girl imagination you used to waggle around. Got it? Now, in your mind’s eye, picture standing in the end zone of a football field with all the women in your life. Look around. Who do you see? Your mom and sisters? Your grandmother? Go back to your high school days. Find your best friend, those other friends, and maybe some teachers who inspired you. Look for the faces of the women who brought you food when you were a sick, young mother, or when you had your babies. Do you see the women who showed you how to cook, and gave you advice on children and marriage? Maybe you see those who once tenderly held your grieving heart.
Once you’ve gotten the gang together, imagine all of you standing on the goal line shoulder-to-shoulder holding a personalized football. You’ve known for years this day was coming, but today is the day you are supposed to make one throw that lands the ball smack in the middle of the logo on the 50-yard line. You’ve worked hard at the gym almost every day trying to strengthen your muscles enough to hit the target. You scan the crowd around you. Some of them are out of shape. Some are old. Some haven’t taken it as seriously as they should. But, you? You’ve done the work. You’ve put in the time. You know you are ready.
A voice comes over the loud speaker. On your mark. Get set. Throw! The balls sail into the air, and like you expected, many fall short of the mid-field logo. Some don’t even make it to the 10-yard line; others fly impressively, but miss the mark. You walk across the field to see where your ball landed, and soon realize that none of you hit the target. All that work. All that effort. For what? Every head hangs low. Everyone is silent.
Now, imagine that same scene at the goal line. Only this time all of you have had a coach who spent his every waking moment with you, encouraging you to eat right, get plenty of rest, and exercise the right muscles at just the right time. Your coach has sacrificed so much of his own life to help all of you succeed that you want to tell everyone about him. His kind of preparation does not wear you out – it energizes you. You realize his way makes every part of life more exciting.
Now, the day has come to make that final throw. You all confidently step up to the line. No hesitation. No worried looks. No fear of failure. When the command is given, balls sail into the air. It appears as though some will again not make it to the 10, others will go a bit farther, but none will make it to the 50. However, this time is very different. The coach is there. You all agree to have him stand behind you, blowing a gentle breath across the field. Every ball receives its own precise puff of air that lands it smack dab in the middle of the target. Victory dances break out in the end zone with no flags for excessive celebration. Music blasts through the loudspeaker while the coach hands out hugs to all his girls. He’s done all the work, but you’ve won the victory.
And that, my friend, is grace.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV