March 26, 2018
Have you thought about the word “grace”? In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Bruce Steffensen writes that his students frequently define grace as “the unmerited favor of God.” Because of how common this definition is, Bruce challenges his students, asking them what that looks like in real life. Students struggle with Bruce’s question: “What I usually get is an explanation of salvation that sounds a lot like an auto manufacturer kicking in a rebate, or zero percent financing, so we can buy a car we couldn’t otherwise afford.”
Grace is more than a discount, a rebate, or a perk. And in talking about grace this week, Bruce starts with a story about a Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Sherbon: “She was the first person outside of my family to tell me stories from the Bible. She helped shape the way I see Jesus. [John] Wesley would call that prevenient grace; Paul would describe it as God’s kindness that leads to salvation.”
What about you? What stories might you have? Who are the people who have shaped the way you see Jesus?
I think of Dorothy Neidigh, a woman who gave me my first Bible. I think of Ruth Epperson, a teacher who demanded integrity. I think of Bernie Bosnjak, a pastor whose gentle love for people living on the streets in her community has challenged me in my thinking about what it means to follow Jesus.
These role models – real live human beings – teach us, according to Bruce, “that grace is not just a component in some cosmic transaction; it is the expression of God who loved me long before I was even paying attention.”
May you know God’s love for you today!
P.S. In this tenuous year of transition, Barclay Press must raise $25,000 in order to remain a going concern. So far this year, we’ve received $15,380 in donations and $1,200 in pledges, getting us more than 66 percent of the way to where we need to be by the end of the year. Thank you for your continuing prayer, for your words of encouragement, and for your support.