Extended Grace

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          July 10, 2013

 

                                           “Extended Grace”

 

I met yesterday with a group of pastors that I journey with half a day once a month. It’s a intimate group of five. We begin each session with a time of reflective reading of scripture, reading through it three times, and noticing something that speaks to us in the text each time it is read.

Yesterday the text came from James 4:1-10. The text could justifiably be summed up with the words “Get your act together!” It’s a little on the lecture side…lecture, as in standing in the midst of the principal’s office and being told the deeds just committed will not be tolerated.

Frequent words used in the scripture include “don’t”, “do not”,  and “can’t”. 

But in the midst of the reading of the holy riot act, these words appear: “But he gives us more grace. (James 4:6a, NIV)

Our group noted that our tendency, which the text hints at, is to be selfish and self-centered. The foot washing act of service by Jesus in the Upper Room is uncomfortable for most of us if it is not planned ahead of time. If we know it’s coming we’re able to rev up our piousness enough to lower ourselves to our knees. But when that opportunity for surrender and humbleness comes unannounced the reception is often cooler than Saskatchewan in early December.

It seems from the text that our God knows of our tendency to yield to no one. He knows that we can talk the walk. We can even walk the walk with others, but walking the walk at the pace of others is another thing. A couple of weeks ago I was walking in an airport terminal and I came upon an elderly woman being pushed in a wheelchair by an attendant. The terminal hallway had narrowed. My first thought was to speed by, but then I thought “I’ve got four hours until my flight leaves.” So I strolled slowly behind them…but I was taken back by how many people rushed to get by the lady who could no longer rush. Perhaps some people were rushing to get to connecting flights, but, honestly, I’m sure most were rushing because the wheeled occupant was slowing down their self-absorption.

And the amazing and even perplexing thing about God is that he knows our selfish ways…and he gives us more grace!

I would think he would set a grace limit. We would! We would be willing to ride grace for a while, but pretty soon we’d put that pony back in the barn. Like a pair of shoes that don’t fit snuggly, we’re only willing to wear grace for so long.

But grace is a garment that God never discards. It becomes a representative feature of who he is, like whenever I see or smell a pipe I think of my Uncle Bernie.

Could it be that when we think of grace we automatically think of God? Of course, whether we think of it or not, God will continue to extend it. He doesn’t need our approval. He just would like us to accept it!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Faith, Freedom, Grace

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One Comment on “Extended Grace”

  1. Charly Whisenhunt Says:

    God’s grace never fails to amaze me.


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