It is said grace is receiving what you do not deserve while mercy is not receiving what you deserve. Yesterday I experienced both.
I decided to make my first trip to Costco in many weeks. My daughters and I banded together to make this journey. After all, there is strength in numbers, right? I offered to drive.
I admit I notice when I leave home, I have been driving too fast. Somehow it feels good to be able to go somewhere and I guess it increases my pleasure to see how fast I can get there. This was no exception. I shot out of the gates in a hurry. Nearly missing my first turn, I used the brakes quite forcefully and turned wide onto the county road. As I am driving with ferocity, I think to myself, “Slow down. You are driving like a maniac.” So at the first stop sign at the railroad tracks, I told the girls I am going to shape up and start driving like I know what I am doing. They agreed that was a good idea.
And I meant to do that. Apparently, I didn’t self-correct quite soon enough because only minutes later I look in my rear view mirror and was greeted by the ominious blinking blue and red lights of an unmarked police cruiser. I deserved to be stopped and I deserved a ticket. I was definitely driving over the 45 mph limit and I was sure there were other infractions as well.
My daughters advised honesty and humility. I knew I was guilty. The officer approached the vehicle and I rolled down the window. His first question: “What’s the hurry today?” I responded, “That is a great question. What is my problem today?” He asked for the usual documentation and recited all my driving infractions: not stopping at stop signs, crossing left of center three times (there was a lot of road kill to avoid), speeding. This would be a doozy.
I apologized and agreed that I was not driving carefully. He chuckled and asked me if I could just slow down. I said I sure would and thanked him for keeping me accountable. And that was it.
Mercy and grace! I deserved a ticket and I didn’t get it. I didn’t deserve to drive away without at least a warning, but I did. And he was nice about it as well.
We may not all receive this kind of grace and mercy from the highway patrols, but we have all received mercy and grace in abundance from our Father in heaven through Jesus. When Jesus sent out his twelve disciples, he told them this:
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!Matthew 10:8
Equipped with the life giving spirit of God, he helps us remember what we have been given if we forget. Paul says it like this:
And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.1 Corinthians 2:12
As a child of God and a sister of Jesus, I am so blessed. I have every reason to be full of joy and generosity. But It’s so easy to forget and fall into the habit of gazing at what I believe I lost or never had in the first place. Psalm 112 challenged me today and I think you might be encouraged by it as well! Here are some excerpts. I encourage you to take time to read the whole psalm!
Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands… Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous… They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need…Psalm 112
Who can you give to freely today? It might be time, talents, resources, forgiveness, prayers…the Holy Spirit can remind you of your area of abundance! Have a great day and slow down when you escape your house! 🙂