Friday, October 31, 2014

Grace is like grits

Years ago we had a priest who preached a great sermon about grace.  He started with this story from his time in seminary in Virginia.  He and a fellow seminarian from the North were going to his home in south Georgia for a visit.  They stopped at a Waffle House on the way.  They placed their orders and continued chatting.  When the waitress brought their orders, the friend was surprised to find a mess of grits on his plate.  
Friend:  Excuse me, I didn't order these grits.  
Waitress:  That's OK.  
Friend:  Well, I'm not paying for them.  
Waitress (now puzzled:) OK. 
 The friend didn't realize that Waffle House serves grits with every meal!  Finally, the mystery was solved and the seminarians realized that Grace is like grits.  You don't have to ask for it and you get it for free!  

I just read an article about survey done recently by LifeWay Research asking some Christians about theological issues.  The survey revealed wide spread confusion about some fundamental Christian tenets.  For example:
71% of the respondents don't know that grace is like grits.  They think grace is a response to something they do first!  

If I ever forget that, I have Jasmine to remind me.  She shared her story with our most recent team.  She described her life as a child, beginning with sexual abuse by her father at age 7, running away to escape the continued abuse, drugs, beatings, prostitution, more drugs.  Today she is almost 2 years drug free, working for LAMB and volunteering for our Alonzo Movement.  The reason she never gave up or succumbed to life with gangs or worse?  "I always believed God loves me."  I can guarantee no one had ever told her that.  She didn't go to church, she received love from no one in her life.  How could she possibly know that God loved her?  Pure grace.  This grace, a free, unasked for gift, carried her through the worst of times and it lifts her up now during the best of times.  She beamed as she told the team how we had trusted her enough to have her son for a whole day on her birthday!  As she described the day, her unconditional love shone through her eyes.  She is passing God's grace to her son.

I urge you to be among the 29% in the chart above, like Jasmine, and believe that God makes the first move.  He offers His grace first and always.

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  John 1:16,17

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