December 12, 2011
The Gift of Grace
This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians.
Have you heard the story of a man who fell down some icy steps? While he may not have been too graceful as he slipped and tumbled, he says the gift of grace looked completely different in each person that came to his rescue. The first person helped him up, examined where it hurt, took him inside and put an ice bag on the injury. This person had the grace gift of mercy. A second person came up and asked him why he hadn’t properly poured salt on the icy steps before hand. This person had the grace gift of exhortation. And still a third person showed the man how to properly hold on to the hand rail and slowly work his way up each step, little by little. This person had the grace gift of teaching. Three different people, three different expressions of the same grace gift.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (NIV)
But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. (The Message)
Grace. Being given a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. And, as many “do-overs” as we need in order to fully accept all the love that God has for each one of us.
Some have suggested that no single man sums up the definition of grace like the man behind the song “Amazing Grace” … John Newton. Do you know his story? He was a slave trader, the captain of a ship in the mid 1700’s that regularly travelled the Triangle Trade Route. Beginning with an empty cargo hold in England, he would travel to Africa and pack over 600 units of “human cargo” – slaves – onto the ship. He would then sail to America and deliver his cargo in exchange for money and goods made in America that were needed in England where he would conclude for a short season and start all over again. He met Christ during a terrible tempest aboard his vessel. He ultimately left the sea and studied for the ministry. Near the end of his life he was pastor at the Saint Peter and Paul Church of England in Olney Parish. At age 82, Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.” He is buried in the cemetery there. On his tombstone reads these words:
John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves inAfrica, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.
Amazing Grace! What a gift!
May you be a recipient and a giver of this gift today.
Father God, thank for the Gift of Grace. Thank you for the chance to start over again no matter how often. Thank you that I can receive your love new and fresh day after day after day. As you have given me grace, may I be quick to offer it to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2011. Rich Ronald