Sunday, February 3, 2013


“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” -Phil. 4:23 I think my favorite word is Grace. It’s such a fun word to say and repeat….GRACE. It flows off the tongue so easily. It brings a smile to my face every time I say it. Yet it’s a concept that most of us have difficulty understanding. To grant someone pardon who has done ZERO to earn it is beyond our comprehension to understand. But when we pass it on to our spouse or our kids or to anyone, even ourselves, it's powerful. I love these words from Paul Tillich: "Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when we feel that our separation is deeper than usual, because we have violated another life which we loved, or from which we were estranged. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for-perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness and it is as though a voice were saying, 'You are accepted.' You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now, perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything; do not perform anything; do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted! If that happens to us, we experience grace. After such an experience we may not be better than before, and we may not believe more than before. But everything is transformed. In that moment, grace conquers sin, and reconciliation bridges the gulf of estrangement. And nothing is demanded of this experience, no religious or moral or intellectual presupposition, nothing but acceptance." (The Shaking of the Foundations, [New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948]). Tillich’s words speak to our world that is consumed with work and sweat and earning what we deserve. It was a concept taught to me early in life, not just in the home but by the American society. The commercial said, “We make money the old-fashioned way- we earn it.” Then grace entered my life. A loving Father God said, “Rest, relax and enter my grace. Then go to work.” Too often I go to work to earn that grace and I leave frustrated. But when I put grace first, the work is at peace, not fretful and demanding. Relax in His grace today. It’s okay, you’re not cheating. Rest. And have a great day at work. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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