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Grace & Gratitude

PrayerWe are moving towards Christmas and I want to pause, and think about how amazing this whole Jesus thing is. As we journey through life day to day we tend to get numbed by the morass of everyday living, and our senses become dulled. We take for granted the richness of life. We focus on our problems, our aggravations, and our anxieties, and we miss the incredible beauty and amazing magnificence of the Lord Jesus.

To be saved by Jesus is an amazing thing to consider, isn’t it? This whole grace thing is simply amazing. Being adopted into God’s family, being a child of God, now that is amazing!

If you get this, if you let this flow through you and over you, if you absorb this amazing grace, and are absorbed into it, you will be full of gratitude and joy. How could you not be?

Are you a grateful person? Have you ever thought about that? Do you typically move through the day filled with gratitude? Would those who know you think of you as someone who overflows with gratitude? Because that would have to be a wonderful indicator of a heart filled with joy, wouldn’t it?

If you need a lift, what do you think about? When you are flat, and life is mundane, or you are in a dark place, and life is overwhelming, what can you think about to reboot and feel a sense of joy and gratitude? One avenue out of the flat life, or the dark heart, and into the Light is to remember what Jesus has done for you. And to constantly remind yourself you – you! – are a sinner saved by grace.

If you are born again, that is.

Jesus tells a story to drive home this point. He has been invited to Simon the Pharisee’s home for lunch. Simon is a prude and stiff and I’m sure not much fun to be around. A “sinful” woman comes in and begins to weep at Jesus’ feet, pouring perfume and washing them with her hair.

Simon’s heart overflows with condescension and judgment, and he thinks to himself, “Humph, if Jesus was a  true prophet, he would know this woman is a sinner.” Now stop for a moment and think about what Simon just said: “This woman is a sinner.” Which means … he is sure he is not.

So Jesus says to Simon, “Two people owed their master money. One owed a bunch, the other not so much. The master forgave them both. Now which one do you think was the most grateful, Simon?”

The answer is obvious, isn’t it? Jesus concludes with a description of Simon’s heart: “But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:36-50 Paraphrased

Have you been forgiven little or much? Do you realize what a lost and blind sinner you were? If so, how can anything but grace and gratitude overflow from your heart?

Or maybe you really think, deep down, that you were just not that bad. You might even think, although you would never say it, that it was a good day for the God team when you accepted Jesus’ offer to join. It’s not really amazing grace to you; it is perhaps just helpful grace. Or possibly just a polishing up kind of grace.

No. It’s either amazing, or it’s not true grace.

You don’t accept Jesus into your heart, and you don’t bless him by joining his team. You fall on your face and surrender your heart and your life to him. And if you truly have surrendered, and if you absorb, and keep absorbing this amazing miracle of his grace, your heart will be filled with gratitude, and streams of grace will start to flow from within.

But I must say, if it is not amazing to you, look deeply into the mirror of your heart. You don’t want to take this for granted, and you sure don’t want to miss this amazing gift of God’s grace.  A grateful person is a grace-full person, with a heart filled to overflowing with Light, brimming over with grace and joy.

Amazing.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

About the author

Sam Hunter

Sam Hunter is the host of South Carolina’s Christian radio talk show, 721 Live, which helps people to apply the Bible to their everyday lives. He has produced two DVD curriculum series: Contentment: The Path to Peace and Fear: Do you React in Fear or Respond in Faith? In addition to speaking to men’s groups weekly as the director of 721 Ministries, Sam is invited frequently to speak to groups at churches, retreats, high schools, and colleges.