“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (WEB)
…is something the Lord has placed on my heart a lot the past few months. It’s funny how the Lord has a way of bringing things to my attention that are in need of…ahem…”additional refinement,” so to speak. Such was the case on my most recent trip to the grocery store.
Yesterday I found myself standing in the “10 items or less” express line behind a couple with a seemingly endless stack of groceries piled up like a mountain in front of the register. The closest they came to the magic number of 10 was with their two shopping carts. Now then, the Lord knows I am prone to having “not the sharpest tool in the shed” moments from time to time. He also knows exactly what pushes my anger buttons. This was one of those “perfect storm” times that combined both of these elements. So, just to be sure even I, dull shovel that I am, wouldn’t miss the subject of the day’s lesson He saw fit to having it plastered on the offending lady’s green t-shirt in bold letters, “G R A C E” standing directly in front of me. No way could I miss it, which was His point all along as I reflect back on the events as they unfolded. From where I stood in this motionless line He obviously had convinced the lady responsible for this avalanche of groceries to wear a “Grace wins every time” t-shirt when she got dressed that morning. “Good thing for her she’s got THAT shirt on,” I impatiently thought to myself as a variety of potential verbal attacks went through my mind. Biting my tongue I stood there in back-burner simmering mode while the cashier went about her job. As the lady finished paying for her groceries she turned around, looked me squarely in the eyes and apologized in the most sincere and nicest, most humble way possible explaining she and her husband had no idea they’d gotten in the express line. In an instant my bad attitude towards her fell and spread out all over the floor like a ripped open box of hundreds of tiny humble pies as the voice inside my head gently reminded me, ”You know you’ve made plenty of mistakes yourself haven’t you? How many times have you needed grace extended to you in moments like this in which you’ve offended others? How many times has God extended His grace to you?” My contrite reply to her came instantly as the Lord quickly brought to my mind something I’d just read in Max Lucado’s book “Grace Happens Here.” Simply put, Lucado says, “Give grace, one more time. Be generous, one more time.” And in that One on one on one moment the utterly refreshing miracle of grace happened…yet one more glorious time.
Grace. We all want it. We all need it. Desperately. Friends, let’s not just be receivers of grace, but let us also be givers of grace…one more time…to one more person…and may we do so generously. Like a delightful and unexpected breeze that brings welcomed relief from the oppressive summer heat may the cup of His overflowing grace you’ve greatly welcomed and received into your own life be poured out on those around you today. When we do that we find out that “Grace really does win every time.”
“As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (WEB)