My father was an endodontist; my grandfather was a dentist. As a young adult, I worked as my father’s assistant on Saturdays and during summer vacations. Years after I stopped working for him, his partner told me about something that happened when I began the job. Assistants were responsible for developing x-rays in a closet dark room; the last step of that task required rinsing the films under running water. It seems I forgot to turn off the water before we left the office for the weekend. It overflowed the sink, pouring down the cabinet, onto the floor, and into the ceiling of my grandfather’s office on the story below. Significant repairs were required, but they were completed before I returned to work the following Saturday. Neither my father nor my grandfather ever mentioned this. My father regularly told me how much he enjoyed working with me and what a good job I was doing. I guess he knew I would feel terrible about the damage I caused, and wanted me to completely enjoy working with him.
A man named Saul experienced an even more abundant waterfall of grace. Because he thought it was the right thing to do, he was a leader of those who persecuted the early followers of Jesus. When one of them, named Stephen, was executed, he stood by and approved, holding the executioners’ coats. Saul dragged people from their homes and put them in prison. He began a journey from Israel to Syria with the goal of capturing others. On the way, he had an encounter with Jesus that re-directed his heart and life. God later said, “This man is my chosen instrument.” Through grace by faith God transformed Saul into a church leader who wrote at least eight books explaining God’s grace and teaching how to live as a community of grace-receivers and grace-givers.
Application: Dear friend, you may not have accidentally caused an indoor waterfall like I did. You are most certainly not a mass murderer like Saul. But weary souls often carry a burden of guilt for the accidental or willful mistakes they have made. Lay your burden down. God’s grace overflows to you even more than my father’s overflowed to me. God so wants us to work with him, that he paid the price to repair all the damage we have caused. Weary friend, hear the good news Saul wrote, “When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.”
Share the story of a time when someone demonstrated grace to you.
What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey