Tonight, I leave for the Dominican Republic with a group from my church. We’re going to serve the people there by playing with children, visiting schools, talking to families, giving some things away, and sharing Christ however we can.
Last week, someone from my church stopped in my office, and we talked about a few things related to the trip. Before he left, he asked me if there was anything he could do while I was gone, specifically mowing my lawn. I’ll only be gone a week, so it wasn’t too necessary and I declined. It actually would help me out a lot, but I couldn’t bring myself to accept.
What kept me from accepting this thoughtful offer? My pride. The fact I didn’t think it was necessary, and I didn’t want to put him out unnecessarily. The awkwardness of having someone else serve me.
The more I thought about this scenario and my reflexive refusal, the more I thought how it mirrors our difficulty in fully accepting grace.
Grace is a tricky thing. It is simple and profound at the same time. And I believe we can accept and refuse it at the same time.
We accept it in a general sense, but we refuse it on a deeper, very personal level.
Have you ever had to accept charity? It is a very humbling experience. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being on the receiving end of charity. And charity is simply grace on a smaller scale.
What aids me in refusing charity? My pride. The idea that I don’t really need this. The awkwardness of being served.
What keeps me from fully embracing God’s grace to me? My pride. The idea that I’m a good person and don’t really need too much grace.
Strangely enough I might learn something about accepting grace on this missions trip. We have been told the people we will meet love giving to and serving the missionaries who come to serve them.
As I go to serve, may I be gracious enough to accept grace and allow others to serve me. Then I might learn a thing or two about grace.
Do you ever struggle with accepting grace?
You are stronger than you think you are…
… and weaker than you realize.
You are uniquely and wonderfully special…
… and you are broken.
You strive for love and acceptance…
… and you’ve never been unloved.
Everything you need
is nowhere that you’re looking.
(Check out Hebrews 12:1-3 for further reflection.)
Today as I am getting dressed to impress, I put on a T-shirt from my good friends at Nike. I do a once-over in the mirror and notice the shirt is rather large. So I take it off, and sure enough, it is a Large. This is the size of all my T-shirts, so why the unexplained largeness?
At first, I credit it to the fact that I’ve been losing weight like a ninja, which simply means in a way no one can possibly notice. But then I observe on the tag beside the ‘L’ it also says ‘Loose Fit.’
I don’t get it. Why do we need to treat T-shirts like blue jeans? I thought the “S-M-L-XL” system we had worked perfectly fine. Simple and straightforward.
Must we really change the classic T? Is somebody out there making “Skinny T’s” and “Baggy T’s?” Is it too late to stop this from happening? By referring to the T as a classic, does this prove the damage has already been done?
I feel like my world is crumbling beneath me…
That might be a slight exaggeration, but the truth is so much is changing so fast no one can keep up with all of it. And every once in a while we get blindsided by something that is no longer the way it used to be. And some of us start reminiscing about the ‘good ole days.’
Accepting change can be a difficult thing. Embracing or desiring change is even harder. We like our ruts.
But when it comes to certain areas of our lives, those areas that matter most, change is just what the doctor ordered. A couple of years ago, I heard Reggie Joiner speak on change. Here is the big idea that’s stuck with me:
“We will resist change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain connected to the change.”
Is there something about your relationship with God or your relationship with those closest to you that you want to change? What will it take for you to actively pursue that change?
(Hint: it’s always better to pursue changes you know need to happen before the pain of not changing becomes unbearable!)
Here’s to hoping you and I become uncomfortable enough to move!