November 21, 2011

It is easy to forget that grace is undeserved.

I was working in the yard this weekend and was thinking of ways Hannah and I could give this Thanksgiving. My thoughts went from feeding the homeless, to buying groceries for some refugees in Dallas, or just making a Thanksgiving offering to the benevolence fund at our local church.

But really I enjoy blessing someone directly this time of year. It is fun to see a need and meet it in Jesus’ name. Then my thought process went to, “I need to find a deserving single mother, or a deserving person who needs some help.” Then almost immediately the Holy Spirit corrected my thought process.

What I mean is that in that moment the Lord reminded me about the motivation of giving. It is not to find someone who is deserving but to give to whom God says to give to. From my perspective they might not appear to be deserving, but God may be doing a work in their heart. That gift may be the very thing He uses to show His undeserved grace.

You have seen the television shows. Oprah gives away a new car to a ‘deserving’ single mother, they give an Extreme Home Makeover to a ‘deserving’ family with a child in need, or they Overhaul some guys car who has done a good deed lately. These aren’t bad reasons to help someone out. It is compassionate, merciful and gracious.

But still, these situations don’t make a person deserving.

By definition grace is God giving us something we don’t deserve. Although we all have hardships in this life, those hardships still do not mean we are deserving of anything. Sin actually created ALL the hardships we face in life. If not directly, indirectly because we live in a fallen world. Classifying hardship as ‘deserving’ is the opposite of justice, it is judgement. We must remind ourselves that we are not the Judge, Jesus is.

I can look for someone that is ‘deserving’ in my eyes to bless this Thanksgiving season or I could ask the Lord whom He wants to bless. Because when the Lord looked at me and called me to be His son He did not see a deserving young man, but He saw a young man He loved anyway.

“Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. It is a self-existent principle inherent in the divine nature and appears to us as a self-caused propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were before under just disapprobation. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” – A. W. Tozer

This Thanksgiving season remember that God’s grace and mercy is undeserved. In that light serving an ungrateful, entitled homeless person (for example) at a homeless shelter gives you an opportunity to see what God has to go through to bless us sometimes. We are not always humble, contrite and thankful for His gifts.

Bless someone this season, they may or may not be deserving. But when done in Jesus’ name you are bringing Heaven to earth by acting as Christ’s hands and feet to touch a person for eternity.

The person God may be calling you to bless this season may not be ‘deserving’.

But then again, neither were you.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9

– Article contributed by Matt Cote, Director of Marketing and Operations for the Master’s Men ministry.