“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” (John 1:16 NASB)
Today’s post comes from an event that happened yesterday. I was at home minding my own business when the phone rang. It was my son’s school calling to see if I had remembered that it was my day to serve. Since it was late in the morning, obviously I had forgotten about my commitment. At the same time, I didn’t know what to do because I was in the middle of homeschooling my twins and my husband was not home. I apologized profusely and expressed my deep sorrow in forgetting my responsibility. She asked if I was able to make arrangements to come in. Honestly, at that point I didn’t think I could make it in, so I apologized once again and said I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my commitment. I also stated that in eight years, I had never forgotten a day I was supposed to assist the teacher. Since this had never happened before, she said “grace would be given” and I was relieved of my duties for the day. Problem solved right?? Well no it was not because I just couldn’t let it go.
After I got off the phone with the secretary, I walked around in a daze not believing I had made such a grave error. I couldn’t believe I didn’t check to make sure this was not my week to serve. I had failed. I continued to go over and over it in my mind and out loud when my eight year old son said “Okay, it’s time to let this one go.” I couldn’t believe he said that. I didn’t even know he was listening. Here I was beating myself up over a simple slip up and he’s sitting there telling me to let it go. Obviously, I couldn’t. I called my husband who was on his way home and told him the story. I quickly got dressed and darted off as soon as he arrived. Problem solved right???
On my way to school, I kept thinking about grace. Why was it that I didn’t want grace to be given? Why was it that I was not willing to receive the grace that was extended to me? I didn’t want grace. I wanted to fulfill my obligation. I wanted to do what I was supposed to do. It wasn’t about grace. It was about honoring my commitment, right? The Lord really spoke to me about my pride. I was so full of myself and my capabilities, I didn’t want any help. I didn’t need grace. I could do this one. I didn’t need anyone to make excuses for me. I needed to handle this one on my own. Wow!! I was denying grace for the sake of my pride. I didn’t want anyone to think any less of me. I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to get out of serving. I wanted everyone to know that I was on it and it was going to be taken care of. I can do this.
The last several months have been very humbling for me personally. We have received so many blessings from family and friends lately. Month after month, we have been blessed by someone’s generosity. When we don’t have what we need, someone always offers to give from their hearts. When we are struggling, God always sends someone to help carry the load. That’s how God is. His children offer from their abundance when one is in need. I get that. But I have to say, it’s hard to take after a while. It’s hard to continually be on the receiving end of other’s generosity. It’s hard to be the recipient over and over. And so, for this particular situation, I was going to be the giver. I was going to fulfill my obligation. I was in no need of grace here. Thank you very much, but I got this.
I love the scripture I found today. The phrase…grace upon grace really spoke to me. Grace from my concordance is defined as favor. Being gracious is defined in the same concordance as kindness. Daily, I have received favor from one person or another. Daily, someone’s gracious act has shown how kind they are. Over and over, my family has received grace. Blessing after blessing has reminded us that the Lord has not forgotten us. I am amazed at the love our family and friends have shown us over the last several months. And I so appreciate the grace. But honestly, I’ve had enough receiving. I want to do some giving. It makes me feel better. I am in control when I give. I feel useful. Hmmm.
Somewhere along the way I have missed the mark. I thought giving was about me and how it made me feel. I never realized it, but I gave so that I could feel good about myself. Wow!! I certainly didn’t realize, before yesterday that I was so self serving when it comes to giving. I didn’t realize how self sufficient I was when it comes to serving others. I am learning the humility it takes to receive the gracious gifts of others. And at the same time, God wants me to give out of a humble heart. I don’t think I will ever serve another person or give another gift in the same way again. I don’t think it will be all about me anymore, but about the Lord. He gives out of compassion and love. I have given out of self satisfaction. Grace overload has humbled me.