Friday, May 18, 2012

Shredded Grace

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The number of dishonest people in the world amazes me.  RB got a call from the business office of the university last week.  "When was the last time you used your university credit card?"  It had been a while, but he was able to pinpoint it pretty fast.  "Someone in Saudi Arabia tried to purchase luggage with it."  Time to shred the card and get another one.

A few days later RB was in Walmart and used his personal bank card.  It was denied.  I'm not sure what concerned him more -- that the card wouldn't work or the fact that the money he thought was in the bank disappeared.  A few phone calls later and he found out someone in a distant state had tried to use the card at two different pharmacies.  It was just a less-than-$10.00 purchase, but the fraud department caught it and blocked his card.  Another card shredded, and a new one sent.

Some dishonesty is harder to make right.  When grace is stolen, what can you shred? We steal grace when we withhold the depths of grace God intended for us to offer. We all need grace to ground our lives.  Goodness, kindness, genuine gratitude is freely given in the offering of our hand and heart. Grace is found when both are offered.  Gifts freely given with our hands wide open only shine with the intensity of a stained glass window when our hearts are open as widely as our hands.

The attitude of some people seems to be one of disdain toward those needing grace.  And I am not entirely innocent of this crime.  How many times have I arranged colorful tissue paper in a gift bag, tied a bow and felt like I have done my duty?  Here, I've showed compassion.  Yeah me.  -- When grace in the form of a conversation was needed more than the gift.  A quick hug given instead of "Come sit by me."  How many times I have selfishly interacted with those I am comfortable with, those whom I can converse with easily.

Grace is not grace when offered reluctantly.   Nor is it grace when recompense is expected.  Grace is in its truest form when unmerited, yet offered willingly.  A grace-starved soul will spew anger, cynicism and depression.  Attitudes that do not attract our desire to share grace.  Sam Storms, when speaking of God's grace said, "Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit."  And so also our offering of grace to those we touch is not grace if we offer it only in reaction to the thought of grace returned.

When we offer grace, it is then the beauty of God's grace shines.  It doesn't matter the amount of fish or bread we are offering.  God multiplies the grace and blessings far more than our small offering.  Like manna, it can be gathered. Like joy, it can overflow.  Like peace, it can satisfy.  Ask God to fill your heart with grace that can be gathered, overflow, and satisfy those reaching hands and yearning souls.
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