grace

I think I’m a getter. On a occasion, I like to give gifts but when it comes down to it, I would rather receive than give. Giving makes you too vulnerable to the giver. What if they don’t like it? What if it was the wrong gift? What if I didn’t spend enough? At least as a receiver, I can fake my through liking a gift. But let’s be honest, if I give a gift, I usually deep down in depths of my heart am hoping for something back. I want more than I am able to give. My capacity to give is frustrated by my hunger for getting.

Yosef was strolling down the dusty street when he overheard a conversation between a fisherman and his lover. He pressed his ear against the old wooden door to get more details of the ensuing adultery and as he listened in his stomach turned in knots at the injustice that was going on behind closed doors. How dare they break the Mosaic Law. Yosef ran as fast he could to some of his Rabbi buddies and told them what was going on and all the could come up with is that she deserved to die. No one breaks the Torah and gets away with it. No one. As they were discussing how to deal with the situation, Yosef came up with the idea that this would be a good way to test the deity of this new Rabbi who recently came on the scene named Jesus of Nazareth. Yosef assembles a meeting right outside the scene of the crime and invites Jesus to come along hoping to trap him too. The religious leaders and Jesus start talking about the woman and her destructive choice, paying no mind to the man who was also present and might have actually been a religious leader himself. Jesus listens to this argument of the Rabbi’s, and what seems to be a closed case, ends up being a lesson of reverse Kingdom values. Jesus scribbles in the sand, in a sense, saying that there accusations don’t really mean much in comparison to the grace he is going to show this woman caught in adultery.

Jesus was a giver. He gave grace freely without directions of how to use it. This infuriated the church of the day, like Jonah, they wanted people to earn their salvation – not freely receive something as prized as friendship with their Creator. Jesus meets up with another woman at Jacobs’ Well and she ends up running off to tell everyone about this man she met. Because Jesus, without question, handed over grace without a manual. We want people to experience grace, but we want to have a hand in how they receive it and we want to be there every step of the way to help them be “wise stewards” of this holy gift. I am not minimizing grace. It is a powerful indescribable gift from our Father who desires romance with His Creation. I am being reductionist in our approach of constantly defining what a “Christian” should look like.

God chose an incestuous alcoholic to manufacture a boat and repopulate earth. He chose a stuttering ex-murderer to pastor the first mega-church through 40 acres of redemptive wandering. The message of God’s grace is that its’ His to give and do with as He pleases. He can choose that the salvation of all mankind be found in an old feeding trough in below zero weather. He can use an atheist to save Christians. He could use an ex-pimp to rescue women from prostitution. God is outside the box, just because Jesus was born in a makeshift cradle doesn’t make him any less God. If anything, the fact that the Creator became the created says a lot about our value to Him. Grace is His to give-to whoever He wants. If He invites us to follow in his footsteps than who are we reluctant to show grace to? Grace is free and it doesn’t come with a manual, and it looks different for each person. Go, celebrate the diversity of grace!

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