Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Gratitude for Grace

What if we lived like there was no limit to Grace?

What if we gave Grace away as freely as Jesus did when He walked on this earth? With His deep love for all those He encountered. Some who had eyes to see who He really was and had the tiniest beginnings of faith. He watered those seeds with His abundant Grace and watched with delight as they blossomed in Gratitude. Furthermore, in what I consider to be one of the greatest challenges ever, He persevered in His love toward those who rejected Him, always extending Grace to the very end.

Our Grace Group met on Saturday and as we sat around the dinner table, we discussed the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers. One friend shared an image she had of Jesus reaching into His unlimited supply bag and tossing out Grace. And how much joy He must have experienced as He showered Grace on the undeserving.

“Like Santa Claus,” another friend chipped in. “And his unlimited bag of gifts. Maybe that's where the idea came from..."

The one leper in the story, a Samaritan, who returned to fall at Jesus' feet and thank Him, was filled with Gratitude. It's easy to imagine him living a life that poured out Grace to others. Always thankful and mindful of his past life and the new start Jesus had given him. But we're left to wonder about the other nine. What happened to them? Maybe they came to their senses a few days later and tracked Jesus down to thank Him for the miracle of their new skin and being welcomed back into the society from which they had been cast out. Or maybe they only experienced physical healing, without a change of heart. Maybe they weren't transformed by Gratitude for Grace.

Which one of the lepers would we be?

Charly shared with our Grace Group that our discussion made him think of the blog post I wrote a few years ago on Extravagance. We place such a high value on being good stewards of what we've been given, that we tend to see extravagance as being wasteful and wrong. But, what if in our family, instead of saying, “Stop! That's too much,” we said, “You didn't get enough chocolate syrup on your waffles. You really need some more.”

What if we weren't worried about running out?

And what if our kids weren't afraid that we didn't have enough love in our family to go around? We had this discussion in our Adoptive Parent Sunday School class yesterday. About how some of our adopted kids don't believe that our love for them is constant: deep inside there's still the fear that parental love can't be counted on. So they have to keep fighting for it (or fighting against it), maybe choosing to look for it elsewhere.

How do we keep giving Grace when their fear expresses itself in rejection, when they say "I don't want to be part of this family"? How can we persevere in Grace giving, as Jesus did when He was rejected? Our hurting kids need the outpouring of our Grace to help their brains and hearts undergo necessary rewiring, so they can let go of the fear that they're going to be left out, left behind, left with nothing. Abandoned again. It's hard, on both sides.

How can we help our kids to personally know God as the Giver of Grace in their lives?

To truly believe that His Grace will never run out.

If we haven't first received Grace, it's pretty impossible for us to give it away. We can look at the example of the unmerciful servant who was forgiven of a great debt, but wasn't transformed by Gratitude. So, when he walked away from what could have been a transforming moment in his life, he found his own servant and demanded repayment of the debt owed to him. His heart, still keeping track of every penny, remained hard.

Gratitude for the Grace we've been given can soften the hard soil of our hearts that lives in fear that there's not enough. And can enable us to be generous with Grace. Watering the thirsty hearts around us with showers of blessing.

How has Gratitude for Grace impacted your life?
How could your heart be changed by Grace and Gratitude even more?

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