So how much thought do you give to Grace? I have to admit that since the new year Steve and I have been reading a book on God’s Grace, and until last night I heard nothing new, nothing surprising…. Yes, the same God that spoke and formed the earth and sky, hung the sun and moon in place, and created everything is kind, compassionate and a giver of good things. And ofcourse the very concept of grace means giving us what we do not deserve…. blessing us, pouring out lavish love and grace. Yes, I believe all of that. Belief in my head, but complete reckless abandonment to it in my life…. well……..perhaps i have some work to do.
But there was a small story in the chapter we just read that jumped at me and challenged me that my faith is small. Here goes:
“I remember from my college days a story my pastor told about an aged former slave. This old man’s former master had died and left him an inheritance of $50,000, an enormous sum in those days. The old man was duly notified of his inheritance and told that the money had been deposited in an account for him at the local bank. Afte rweeks went by, and he had failed to withdraw any of his money, the banker called the man in and again explained to him that he had $50,000 available to him. The old slave – who had no comprehension of how much $50,000 was – asked, “Sir, do you think I can have fifty cents to buy a sack of corn meal?”
Many believers live like the old slave. Because we do not comprehend the superabundance of God’s grace and generosity, we ask Him for paltry blessings, the fifty cent variety, when we could be drawing on the abundance of His riches.” -from “Transforming Grace” by Jerry Bridges
Wow, right across the head was this story… and how many times have I taken a dim limited view of what is possible, choosing the fifty cent request when all of heaven and the blessings of God are there. In my conservative mind an alarm sounds… “alarm, alarm.,… you don;t want to drift to false teaching – the name it and claim it variety.” But this story was not like that, and my thoughts are not like that either. I am not looking for the wealth of the ages, or unending posh lifestyle. What stirred in my mind is how little I really understand about God and his magnificent grace. He rewards us with so much, and we don;t deserve it.
At the heart of the story is the idea that God wants to capture our heart, our attention, and grant us complete confidence in his character. The old slave saw something in his master, and his master thought something of him to leave this inheritance. But did the old slave ever get to the point of trusting his master? Or had he grown used to asking for fifty cent blessings? The story does not tell us, but if we read between the lines perhaps there is a sense that the master wanted to give more, yearned to give more, and in his lifetime never had the opportunity. It was only in his death that this would be fulfilled. Hmm, so much to think about.
This past year has taught me to dig deep, search hard, wait for God to open doors, and to bring provision. But I must also confess I have not asked for the big stuff like funds to pay our bills, or a job to satisfy the needs of working. I have grown used to the “bless us now” fifty cent prayers. But I want to know the lavish grace of god, and I want to see the miraculous in my life, and Steve’s. And I want to break that knowledge deficit of the grace of God, not holding out for a small sack of corn meal when there are wonders untold awaiting. This year I want to understand more clearly and deeply the character of God that is dependable, faithful, loving and merciful. And I want to understand in a new way what the grace of god is all about. I want to see and sense grace like I never have before in my life.
Life is a journey, and with God’s grace it is a transformation from stumbling to a new confidence in God’s unfailing love. That is my hope for this new year.