We rarely say grace before a meal in our house and yet it seems like every time we go for a meal at someone’s house they ask me to say grace!! It’s what pastors are expected to do!
‘For what we’re about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.’
It’s crazy and I feel uncomfortable about being asked to say it because for one, I suspect it is rarely said in most of those homes unless the pastor visits and second, we are all priests and ministers….so why am I always asked, and third, – can’t we just get stuck in – can’t you see I’m starving!
Just say grace! Maybe I should just quietly show some grace and go through the motions! It’s made me think about all those other times when I’m lacking in grace!
- I’m probably at my worst when I’m behind the wheel of a car! Julia keeps threatening to record me and put it on YouTube. She claims that I commentate on other drivers behaviour! Comments such as ‘that’s right wait until there’s no gap at all before pulling out!’ and ‘that’s ok, I’m in no hurry – you take as long as you like and yes it’s fine to completely block the overtaking lane for miles….feel free…I’m in no hurry!’ apparently flow regularly! I’m sure she’s imagining things or hearing voices (more worrying!)
- At the superstore check out facing the most unhappy, miserable check out assistant on earth! Are they paid to look miserable?!
- On hold at the call centre when I’ve had to ring yet again and waste my valuable time (grrrrrrrr!) clearing up THEIR mistake!!!
- Or it could be that person in your workplace, or church team or midweek groupwho simply has no self-awareness and simply never pauses for breath long enough for anyone else to get a word in edge ways!
- It could be that spouse or family member who right now is driving you absolutely nuts! ‘If they say that once more….I’m going to swing for them!’
Maybe right now you, like me, need to show some grace to someone. Paul encourages us, ‘Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.’ (Colossians 4:6).
I can remember in my early years as a pastor having someone in my church plant who was an absolute pain in the proverbial! An older minister friend wisely advised me ‘Simon – be gracious.’ It was great advice and something I’ve never forgotten. I’m not perfect but I’m growing in grace and I’m constantly seeking to show more grace to people just like me – who don’t necessarily deserve it.
- Is Christlike (‘Whilst we were still sinners Christ died for us’– we will none of us experience more grace than that!)
- Protects us from further troubles (husbands – how many times have you muttered something under your breath to your wife only for her to hear and then a much bigger argument kicks off!)
- Is compassionate – we show great compassion when we try and put ourselves in someone else shoes. Who knows what the girl at the checkout is facing when she serves us? The bible encourages us to consider other people’s needs above our own and honour others above ourselves (Rom. 12:10). The Message says ‘Practice playing second fiddle!’
- Is a better witness – recently I replaced my car and to be honest the young salesmen was pretty poor in his manner, communications and organisation and I lost a lot of time chasing him. In the end I had words with both him and his manager and verbalised my frustrations. A few days later when I eventually collected the car I felt God challenge me to apologise (even though I felt I hadn’t done anything wrong). I obeyed God and the young guy mans demeanour changed instantly! It was like a weight had been lifted. He couldn’t do enough for me and sorted me out with a load of heavily discounted extras for my car which I needed but was expecting to pay for!
- Causes us to receive grace – the example of the car salesman proves that written into creation is the principal of ‘sowing and reaping.’ I reaped what I’d sown – completely unexpectedly!
Let’s Be Full Of Grace!
I love the apostle Stephen. Serving at tables with, sometimes I guess, difficult people must have been challenging, but Luke records,
‘Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.’ (Acts 6:8)
Maybe right now you should say to God – I want to be like Stephen who was so full of grace.
Maybe there’s a really difficult person in your world right now. There’s a simple promise for you found in James:
‘‘But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ (James 4:6)
Just ask Him to give you more grace. Maybe you need great tact and diplomacy right now. I remember someone telling me once that this is what they prayed, in order to cope with a sometimes difficult husband: ‘more grace Lord!’ It worked!
God is described as the ‘God of all grace’ (1 Peter 5:10) and out of his bounteous store gives grace to those who ask! Whoever or whatever you’re facing right now – simply ask!
Who in your world do you need to show some grace too (put yourself in their shoes for a moment!)?
Who do you regularly rub shoulders with who needs some grace?
Who do you need to go the extra mile for? Who can you really bless?
Who can you bless with a Starbucks, Krispy Kreme or some flowers?
Who’s day can you make with a random act of kindness?
I’m praying as I conclude this post, may ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!’ (1 Thess 5:28)