When I was 23 years old, I got my first promotion with AT&T, was put over the business office in Greenville, South Carolina and given responsibility for managing Betty, Mary and Janie. A few months into it, I was called into my boss’ office on a Monday morning for what seemed to be an important meeting. Mr. Simpson handed me an envelope with Betty’s name on it. He said her job had been reclassified and the company was giving her back pay for several years. The check was over $12,000 . . . more than half her annual pay. She had no idea it was coming. I call that grace!
How would she respond? Options . . .
- “I’m not going to take this check. I didn’t really earn it. It’s not fair for me to have this money. I don’t deserve this!”
- “It’s about time someone took note of how hard I work and made things right! I deserve every dollar . . . maybe more!”
- “I guess this is just my lucky day. I’m going to book a cruise and have myself a good time! I hope something else good like this happens someday!”
- “I’m really grateful for this check, but I’m torn. On one hand, it’s almost too good to be true. I could pay off my house and start a college fund for my daughter with this. But I don’t feel like I should have this! I think I’ll hold onto the check and not cash it. That way I’ll never have to feel guilty about taking the money I didn’t deserve.”
- “I’m so grateful for this. This will help us get our finances on a good footing. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but I’m very, very thankful for a company that cares about me this much. I can’t do anything to earn this or pay it back, but I’ll remember where this came from and do my best to make this company proud of me. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
Believers in Jesus have this same decision to make. When we think about God’s grace towards us . . . our salvation, forgiveness and the freedom we’ve been given through His grace, there’s a response in our hearts. It’s automatic. Some never accept it. Others discount it with unbelief – “It’s just too good to be true.” We ‘man up’ and set out to earn it by being good . . . through doomed efforts to be righteous on our own. Some take it for granted, keep living as before and hope more grace is coming in the future. Most believers receive it in their heads but never grasp it in their hearts. It’s like we never truly accept the gift or the expression of pure love behind it. We second-guess and analyze and question and re-live and feel guilty.
It’s hard to fathom a love so great that every failure and every sin is forgiven and forgotten. A grace so full to include a great wife, wonderful children, healthy grandchildren, a magnificent church, meaningful work, and the best country in the world to live it in. And importantly, a grace intended to give me the freedom to live the rest of my life forward facing and with a heart full of gratitude. Thank you Jesus!
(P.S. Betty cashed the check!)
Scripture: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)
Mentor Tip: Keep digging into your guys’ hearts until they see that performance-based acceptance is a dead-end. They can never be good enough. Show them the overwhelming love of their Heavenly Father and help them grasp His total forgiveness and amazing grace.