Every month I sit at the kitchen table, pay my bills, and divvy up my cash into envelopes – each for something different. It’s the “envelope system” created by Dave Ramsey in his Financial Peace University program. $200 for groceries, $120 for gas, $70 for hair, $50 for gifts, and the list goes on. When the envelope is empty – that’s it. All gone. No more. Now, I must wait until I earn some more.
This morning, however, I was putting that cash into the envelopes and began thinking about a challenging question someone posed to me a couple of years ago. Insisting that I didn’t understand what grace was, they asked me to define it. “Getting something I don’t deserve” wasn’t a satisfying enough answer for that individual, and since that time I have thought about the definition of grace umpteen times. Not so much because I realized I didn’t understand it, but more so because I wondered how in the world I would put into words the grace that has been extended to me. The older I get the more I understand it.
And, yikes…. Here’s the hard part to swallow….. Ready?
How about that grace I’ve refused to extend to others?
So, why did my envelopes of cash cause me to ponder the definition of grace this morning?
I’m chuckling as I write this – a grateful kind of chuckle, really.
Scroll back up, and re-read this: “When the envelope is empty – that’s it. All gone. No more. Now, I must wait until I earn some more.”
I was literally shoving cash in envelopes and by absolutely no mistake or coincidence thinking to myself how grateful I am that God doesn’t divvy up grace in small portions that once they are gone, that’s it – poof! Gone. Gotta wait now until I earn some more.
Nope. That’s NOT grace, and that’s the whole point. If we had to earn it – it wouldn’t be grace. You cannot earn grace. I don’t care if you work at the Soup Kitchen 8 days a week – you’re not earning grace. Grace is free.
Hello – That’s what makes grace, grace. It’s FREE!
I sat last night at my kitchen table with a young lady, and I had the opportunity to share with her many of the mistakes I’ve made, and all of the stupid, even reckless life decisions I’ve made. That conversation was as much for her as it was for me, because I can’t think about my life, talk about my life, write about my life, or even share about my life without recognizing each and every time more and more graces that God has continued to pour over me!
Fun Fact: If you get to heaven and the Lord has gray hair, or no hair – It’s likely I’m the one responsible for that 😉
Now scroll back up again to that “yikes” part…
Have you ever heard the song by David Crowder “Oh, How He loves me?” There’s a line in that song that I love that goes like this – “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves me!”
The older I get, the more I look backwards. And the more I look backwards, the more I see how much God loves me and I see the grace I’ve been given. The more I see the grace I’ve been given, the more grace I want to give to others.
That’s another thing about grace. The more you get, the more you want to give away, and grace is a lot easier to share than it is to define. It would be pretty difficult to claim I understand grace if I’m maintaining regrets, holding grudges, alienating people, or withholding forgiveness……..
What about you? Are you maintaining regrets? Holding grudges? Alienating people? Withholding forgiveness, even? And is this because someone doesn’t “deserve” your grace?
Another fun fact: They probably don’t. But, you don’t deserve the grace YOU receive either. Neither do I. None of us do. When we finally “get” that – I mean, really and truly “get that,” we can’t run fast enough to give it away…….
I’ve come to the conclusion that it is easy to see whether or not someone can “define” grace simply by watching how much of it they give away, or perhaps how much they don’t.
I’m so glad God doesn’t run outa grace for us, aren’t you?
Grace – The more you get, the more you give away. And the more you give away, the more you receive. Don’t believe me? I dare you to give some away 😉
“That has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” Colossians 1:6