Monday, March 30, 2009


I'm all about grace. I lived the first 30 or so years of my life singing about it and reading about it but not really knowing about it...the kind of knowing that transforms. Then God radically changed my life through the ministries of a couple of amazing grace-filled Jesus followers, Dan Wills and Steve Brown. Since then, I've tried my darnedest to walk in grace in a way that not only keeps me free, but sets others free. So when I read this post over at my pal Jeff Goins' blog, I just knew that I had to share it here at Graceland:

"Did I tell you about the yard sale?" my friend asked me the other day while I was out of town for my work. I told her no. The story she proceeded to tell me was nothing short of inspirational.

"Well," she began, "I went to a yard sale the other day, picked out several items, and told the man who was in charge of the sale that I was ready to check out. He took me into his house, pulled out the bank pouch, told me how much it cost, and I took out the money. Then, he stopped me and said, 'Here's the deal - it's all free.'"

Re-enacting the story, my friend's mouth dropped.

She described the mental conflict that was happening within her. She said that it made her uncomfortable to get something for free. The man explained to her that this was like what Jesus did for her - he wiped her ledger clean, gave her something for nothing. My friend, of course, was a Christian, but this still stunned her.

For a moment, she wanted to fight it. She wanted to tell the man that she didn't need such a gift - at least, not like those poor Mexicans rifling through this man's possessions did. But she knew that was ridiculous. She knew that she needed grace just as much as the next person. So, she took her money and the handful of yard sale items she had been given and walked away.

I think that for those of us who have grown up with more wants than needs (which is most of us in America, by the way) have difficulty not paying our own way. This may look different in particular situations - it may be a sense of pride when a friend offers to pick up your dinner check, or it may be the pain you feel when you have to ask a family member for money due to financial straits. Whatever the case, we hate to be in need.

But that is precisely our state. Jesus says that unless a person understands his or her own spiritual bankruptcy, they cannot be blessed. It's impossible. You can't receive a gift if you don't recognize your utter poverty and need.

I think that we need to be reminded of grace.

I think that we need to constantly "un-forget" the story of salvation.

I think that "making a decision for Christ" can be a one-time incident, but it takes a lifetime to comprehend and appreciate.

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