A wealthy young insurance broker came to Jesus and asked him how he could secure his eternal future. He had lived a good life and, to the best of his knowledge, he had not broken the Ten Commandments in any major way. Surely that was enough.
Jesus’ response is filled with pathos as says, “You lack one thing…” Only one! Surely he had done enough – why one more thing? On another occasion I will unpack this further because I think it has a lot to say to us in the relative wealth of the UK. But today I want to consider Jesus’ words – “You lack one thing…”
What would be the one thing that you lack?
I am making a rather large (and arrogant) presumption here to speak on behalf of Christians in the UK*. But I think the one thing we lack is grace. Not as in ‘elegance’ but as in the quality of God to offer love, mercy, acceptance and forgiveness in the face of human rebellion. How do we lack grace?
We lack grace when we assume the right to berate someone else rather than approach them with humility.
We lack grace when we decide that someone’s lifestyle makes them unacceptable to God and exclude them.
We lack grace when we decide that we cannot worship God in a particular way because it is not our preference.
We lack grace when we get upset about things that adversely affect us and are not bothered about injustices that we commit against others with our purchasing power.
We lack grace when we write or read bloggages about a lack of grace among Christians if we don’t recognise that lack in ourselves and ask for forgiveness from God and any whom we have hurt, and if we don’t seek his grace and love more and more in our lives.
An investment banker was making huge profits on risky investments. He hedged his funds and bet against the market in the hope of making those profits (and his bonuses) even higher. However the risky investments proved unwise and he lost millions of pounds. He tried to make it better with even riskier investments, but just made it worse.
Eventually he realised that he would have to own up to his mistake and went to see his boss. With tears in his eyes he explained his error and begged for forgiveness from his manager, expecting to lose his job, his reputation, his livelihood and much more. The manager graciously told him that he would take the blame for this as he should have had better oversight of his employee. The investment banker was overjoyed and thanked his manager for taking the blame.
Later that day he saw one of his colleagues who had forgotten her purse when the team went out for lunch, and for whom the investment banker had paid her portion of the bill. The investment banker stormed up to her and demanded that she pay him back immediately. When she said that she didn’t have any cash with her at the moment he insisted that she should leave office immediately and go and get the money from a cash machine. While she was gone he told everyone in the office how unreliable she was.
The Manager got to hear of this and invited the investment banker back into the office…
You can complete the rest of the narrative. Jesus told a very similar story which illustrates a lack of grace – is it comparable to us? Where do we fit into the story?
If you are like the woman in that story I pray that you will find the strength and grace to cope with the injustice.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
*The very nature of generalisations is that they don’t fit everyone, so if this does not apply to you, bless you.