Grace doesn’t add up. Two plus two doesn’t always equal four. Grace defies obligation. Grace is not bound by promises and oaths; it’s not bound by anything, for that matter. Grace doesn’t make sense. Grace opens us up like a flower. It makes us completely and utterly vulnerable. It is not tied to anything we do or don’t do. Grace can’t be earned or bought. Grace is so free that it’s laughable. It’s over the top. It’s lavish. For a miser like me, grace feels almost illegal. Something must be wrong. Check the numbers again; this is a lot more than I deserve.
Like those workers in one of Jesus’s parables who got paid a day’s wages for an hour of work. They were faced with a dilemma: do they pocket the money and go home, or bring it to someone’s attention and risk losing it if it’s a mistake? Of course it’s no mistake; it’s what the master wanted to do, but they don’t know that. Grace feels a little like finding out there was no mistake. “You mean we get to keep this?”
Grace fosters this feeling. We get what we don’t deserve, and when we get what we don’t deserve, we have more to give away. It makes us generous with what God has given. God has lavished His grace on us, so why not lavish it on everyone else?
I was thinking about this just yesterday when Marti called me from a baby store with some things she had found for our granddaughter and our future grandson (due next month!). She wanted to know if we could afford it. (We’re talking $28 here.) Instead of what I usually do when I hear questions like this — sucking air through my clinched teeth and exhaling with a long sigh while I try, passive aggressively, to answer the question without really answering it — I said, much to my surprise, “Absolutely. Go for it!” She told me later, that she about dropped the phone, and how much genuine joy this response brought her. I think this is what we’re talking abut when we say gracious giving.
Can you tell this is hard for me? Have you noticed how late the Catch is coming lately? That’s because it takes me three or four tries before I get it. And even then … I’m not sure. Giving is hard for me, never mind giving graciously. But I surprised myself this time by realizing I just told my story in the previous paragraph. I didn’t think I was going to ever have my own story, and suddenly, there it is.
So it’s your turn now. We’re waiting for more gracious giving stories, so click on reply and send me one!