Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks, for this is the
will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (KJ21)
Sometimes you receive a gift and you’re required to say “thank you.” Sometimes that gift is completely awful. My friend Holley says “Always remember to love the Giver more than the gift.” Reading that immediately took me back to the last couple years of my life. Anybody with sense would certainly NOT call the trials we’ve lived through a gift by any stretch of the imagination…but God.
God used the toughest times in my life to strip away all my defenses, my crumbling façade, every illusion I fabricated to suggest that I was in control in order to draw me nigh to Him. The gift of trials stunk, but it was gifts of Grace, the Peace found only within the deepest madness, that made me remember how much I loved the Giver.
My friends and I speak often about Grace, and reflecting on a long ago conversation, it occurred to me…we should be living every single day lavishing every bit of the Grace we have with everyone we meet. That’s the gift. We should give away our best attitudes, our best tone, the best of our heart as though we could only receive more by handing out alI we have. We’ve all be taught “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Let’s start living like it.
I believe that Grace is precisely the kind of gift that makes you appreciate the Giver. One day while walking the dog I was reminded in one of my favorite random-shuffle-on-the-iPod kind of ways of the goodness of Love (God) and my gratitude for Grace. Jill Scott was singing in my ear, “I Can’t Even Begin to Explain (how good it is)” and while she was singing about romantic love and hurt and forgiveness, I also heard Grace.
So, if there is to be a lesson, here it is...I am no theologian, but something I read by @stickyjesus got it right for me. “God’s Word instructs us how to love each other well. A compassionate, forgiving, and contrite heart can be a mighty kingdom expanding force.” That’s a gift that NEVER stops giving. And the One Who Gives Grace? I will always love Him.