Last week I am rushing up to the church for a meeting during lunch. I will need to get back to work for another meeting so it will be a quick in and out. As I pull up I notice that the youth group is doing a car wash and there is goo ol' Len leading the way.
Being the faithful supporter that I am, I thought, "Hey...I'll just pull up in line, let them wash my car while I am at the meeting, and then I'll come back out to pay them for their fund raiser."
Actually, I am feeling pretty proud about my good deed for the day.
But within the first 5 minutes of my meeting it dawns on me! "What if Len is doing one of those outreach projects?" Doah!!!!
Now I am feeling completely guilty. I can't let those kids wash my car for free. But it's too late. They have already come inside to return my keys.
"Here you go Mr. Cepica."
Oh great! They are even going to be kind and humble about their act of service for someone who really didn't deserve it in the first place.
Why am I so uncomfortable with this?!!!
Well, quite frankly, I believe I am uncomfortable because I am uncomfortable with grace. This idea of unmerited favor is unsettling. Something inherent within us says that we must do something to earn blessing.
I believe this even translates into our relationship with Christ. Don't get me wrong. I definitely want His hand of blessing upon my life. However, I often would prefer to do something, even a little something, to convince myself that God's act of kindness is more of a reward for my good behavior. For some reason this is a little more comfortable than accepting a pure act of love that was completely undeserved.
But what if I had insisted that Len and his youth accept my $10 I had planned to donate to the cause. Would they not be insulted by my arrogance to assume that they were not worthy to serve me without receiving some kind of payment. To force payment would turn their act of kindness into a duty of employment. Now I am in charge and they literally work for me.
It is the same with God. To refuse His grace is to assume control and to wrongfully place yourself in a position of authority. But God does not work for us and we should we should not be so arrogant as to assume we can earn His love.
Grace is uncomfortable. But accepting grace is the only way to experience forgiveness. We don't deserve it and we can never do enough to earn it. We must humble ourselves and accept the gift he offers...no charge.