Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Ever been in that one situation where it just seems impossible to give grace? In the grocery store. At the pharmacy. On the roadways. At the emergency room. At the gas station. Well…almost anywhere springs forth opportunities to not be of God for just a moment. You know those moments where you try to cover up your Jesus Freak T-shirt just so you can be unchristian for just a second. It’s okay right? We are covered by a grace which abounds to the ends of the earth so if we mess up and say what is on our minds the majority of the time it’s okay. Well, I feel that if we are freely given grace by our loving Savior then we too should aspire to live a life of giving grace. Is it easy? Nope. Are we going to slip up? Yup. But on a Christian level we should be headed towards giving grace more often rather than just spitting out what the world spits at us.
Here is a perfect example from my life just the other day. I went to the local convenient store to get five things: A gallon of milk, a gallon of fruit punch, 2 plastic containers of non-dairy creamer and 2 D sized batteries for my dad. Being the strong woman I am (lol) I decide no cart is necessary and I gathered my items and headed towards the register. Now of course all five patrons in the store decide to check out at the same time. Here are the customers: a grandmother with a teenage grandkid who wants a scarf which is not tagged, an older man with just a bottle of cough syrup, another grandmother with her grandson with a cart filled with a variety of items, myself and a mysterious cart just around the corner which I cannot see.
Now, by nature I am pretty patient in settings such as this. The grandmother who was ahead of me tried to let me go ahead of her, however I denied the opportunity, knowing they would just have to open another lane. Now while you are reading this, please remember the lesson is grace. So as the first customer is almost checked out, another lane is opened. As everyone moves forward I attempt to head towards it when the mysterious cart pushes through navigated by a woman about my same age loudly proclaiming, “Excuse me please,” as she whizzes by me to get behind the man with the cough syrup. I stood there in amazement holding my now very heavy items.
This is where grace can get ugly. As I watched her unload her cart of canned goods and many other items I begin to feel bitterness rise up in me. I felt slighted and wronged. How dare she just push through like that. Didn’t she see I had my arms full? Right when I felt I was just going to give into rejection the grandmother in front of me had just emptied her cart and gave it to me so I could put my items in it. Grace. Twice. Right in front of me. So I began to pray for the other woman and asked God to bless her, forgiving her for cutting in front of me.
Round two. So just when I thought my flesh was calm and I had blessed her, she completes her shopping and begins to push past me to get to the door and loudly says, “EXCUSE, ME!” And I bit my tongue at a retort I was about to spew. Why? Because I knew God was about to use me, for you see I had already begun a conversation with the clerk. She was having one of those days and when I asked her how she was she replied with, “It’s one of those days that you don’t want to ask me that, it’s a loaded question.” In that one moment even with the distractions around me I could see her need for Jesus. I simply looked at her and said, “Well, no matter what kind of day you are having, Jesus wants you to know He loves you and that’s all that matters.”
That’s all I had to say and she was filled with hope right before my eyes. Refreshed with hope. Now looking back if I had reacted negatively towards the other woman I would not have been a very good witness. If I had gotten in the other lane, I would have missed an opportunity for Jesus to show up. This is what the reality of grace is. It is undeserved but freely given so that hope can be restored to those around us.