I was late to an early morning meeting yesterday. It was our Elder meeting; and I’m the chair. Talk about a recipe for how not to be a good leader! And it was all just so silly.
The meeting started at 7 am and my alarm went off at 5:30, the same time as my work week mornings. I had plenty time to pray, to read, to “coffee,” and hop in the jalopy and head across town. All was going as planned and I was on pace to be early. But as I was nearing the main artery leading over to the east side of the river, I realized I forgot my wallet. Not only that, I forgot my bag which included my wallet, cell phone and iPad that had my Bible app and the agenda for the meeting! I did, however, remember my coffee.
Crap! I had no choice but to turn around and fetch my satchel. Now, not only was I not going to be early, but I was definitely going to be late; like ten minutes late.
Grumbling before leaving my driveway for the second time, I texted our pastor letting him know of my oops. I was so angry with myself and frustrated. I don’t want to be the reason for the delay, especially since everyone else is sacrificing time on an early Saturday morning.
Finally arriving at the meeting, I felt pretty low and a bit defeated. But the reception I got dispelled my brooding gloom. The others treated me cheerfully, welcoming me with warmth and only polite ribbing. There were no scowls or rebukes or terse greetings. I was welcomed and immediately included in the meeting.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is grace in action. Here I had an oops that was countered by grace. Bullinger defines grace as “an inclining toward, courteous or gracious disposition, friendly willingness; on the part of the giver of a favor, kindness, favor; on the part of the receiver, thanks”*. I was being extended kindness rather than rebuke, and I was, of course, thankful for that. I didn’t deserve the grace I received; but even so, grace is what I received.
God also gives grace. His grace has eternal gifts with it. It is purely by the grace of God that we have salvation in Jesus Christ. Scripture says:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
A couple of verses before this the Apostle Paul speaks eloquently of mercy and grace working in tandem:
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).
We have access to salvation in Christ through faith through no work of our own. We can’t buy it, we can’t earn it, we just express faith in Christ to receive this free gift from God:
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
That’s it! There are no rituals, no works to accomplish or hoops to jump through, just a simple expression of faith from a sincere heart.
As the Elders showed me grace, so God shows us all grace; but His kindness opens up an eternal destiny to be forevermore with Jesus. So, have you experienced God’s grace yet?