On October 3, 2013, I met someone. I was at a place in life that I’d never scripted for myself – never would have scripted for myself – and found myself in an office of a man who didn’t know me, and certainly didn’t owe me anything.
I don’t know if it was standard practice to pay the fee as he did. Based on a very few conversations I’ve had with others who have been in a similar spot, his payment was very unusual.
I don’t think the money he contributed amounted to much by today’s standards. I was tempted to open the envelope and see how much he was paying. And while I don’t think it was money out of his pocket, it would be extremely unusual for this kind of business to contribute anything to those of us who find our way into their office.
My best guess at how much money he put into that envelope? $25 or less. I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I saw most, if not all, of what he put in, and it was less than $25.
Now, $25 is not a huge amount of money, but it’s not insignificant either. And when you’re at a crossroads in life, when your world has just been shattered, when you’re uncertain of what is coming, full of fear, trepidation and anxiety, a small monetary gift is not at all insignificant.
The money in that envelope was a gift. Freely given.
The man I met that day gave me grace.
I’ve never forgotten him, though I can’t remember his name.
The odd thing, though, is the timing of when I remember him.
I remember him when I argue with my husband.
I think about him when I feel frustrated at my current state, when I long for a way out.
I remember his goodness when I struggle to be kind.
You see, someone paid a large debt that day – one that bought freedom. I’m eternally grateful for that, and I long to live up to the kindness that was paid.
On top of that huge kindness, though, this man – who did not know us – gave us grace.
Three people gave extravagant grace that day.
Three people believed enough on that day to pay money toward something that wasn’t guaranteed to work out.
So when I choose to wallow in self-pity due to my circumstances, when I don’t let go of a disagreement, when I lose my footing and wonder where God is and why He’s allowing this,
am I cheapening the grace they shared with me?
Have I taken the gift that was given and totally disregarded it each time that I choose to act out of selfishness instead of love?
If I stood in front of that man today, would I be able to say that I have used his gift well? Have I put his gift to use, to grow and nurture it in a way that would benefit us?
Or have I stomped my feet and pouted, acted ungrateful, and disregarded grace?
I’m afraid I’ve disregarded his gift too often. I’ve been ungrateful for his grace.
* * * * *
There was another man who gave an extravagant gift of grace.
His gift was not money, it was His life.
He invested His life – His perfect, sinless life – to cover over my sins. He invested in me, even though there was a chance I might not live for Him.
Each new day brings opportunities to choose to honor His gift – my eternal life.
Each day brings opportunities to share His gift with others, because His gift wasn’t just for me.
Jesus died to give us all the opportunity to choose life – eternal life – with Him. His gift is free. It costs us nothing except the decision to live for Him, putting aside our wishes for His plan for our lives.
I’ve had my whole life, and I will have the rest of my life, to share His gift with others.
* * * * *
The man I met in October, 2013, invested into my life. He chose to pay a debt he did not owe. Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to ask him why he did that.
Whatever his reason, I have the opportunity – every single day – to use the gift that he gave me.
I can work with my husband to strengthen our marriage. I can support him through the challenges he’s facing. I can choose to continue to abide in Christ, knowing that He is faithful.
Not only that, but the man’s gift gives me courage to sit here and share with you. It gives me courage to answer the emails that come – the ones asking for prayer, begging for hope, pleading for someone who understands just how awful things can be inside of a marriage.
* * * * *
What gift have you been given, regardless of size or amount, that you can use today to share with others? Are you choosing to take that gift and work it into something more?
Don’t cheapen the grace that has been extended to you by choosing selfishness.
Instead, let’s ask God to multiply that gift – to somehow increase it as only He can, for His glory.
We all are going to find ourselves in the position of one of the servants from the parable in Matthew 25:14-30. Will you be the one who received 5 talents and worked to earn 5 more? Or the one who received 2 talents and made 2 more? Or will you be the one who received just 1 talent, and buried it?
When this journey started for me, I had no idea what God would do. I knew only that He asked me to wait, and that He promised to make something out of the tragedy and trauma.
Not every day is easy, and choosing faith is proving to be a huge fight some days.
But every day that I can choose faith, I can find that God is faithful. In fact, I can even see God’s faithfulness on the days that I struggle to choose faith.
I can promise you that whatever you are facing, God is at work on your behalf. But today, you have the opportunity to do something with the free grace that He’s given to you.
Don’t cheapen that grace.
Put it to good work, friend.
Lord, thank you for the grace that You give us every day. Thank you for people who invest in us in ways that we’ve never imagined. Help us to use the strengths You’ve given us to impact our world. Give us eyes and a heart to choose faith today!