I recently took part in a golf tournament. Well, ‘tournament’ might be a bit of an exaggeration. There were seven ‘threes’ and as well as playing for individual glory there was also a team competition between the ‘threes’. I was delighted that our team came second!
This is not, I hasten to add, because I am a great golfer. I don’t have a handicap and can’t guarantee where the ball will go once I have swung the club at it. But I enjoy playing and (despite being drenched by a monsoon) had a great afternoon. I thing I contributed 5 or 6 points to our team’s total. That sounds less impressive when you think that our team total was over 60 points! But we came second by one point and that winning point could have been mine!
I was so blessed by the encouragement and friendship of my playing partners. They did not give up on me even when I hit the ball way into the rough and encouraged me if I hit a good shot. And I was so blessed that they shared the blessing of coming second with me as if I had contributed half of the points rather than under 10% of them! That’s grace in action.
It did remind me of Jesus’ parable of the workers in a vineyard who all received the same wage regardless of how long they had worked. That too is an illustration of God’s grace – he does not give according to what we deserve, he gives according to his generosity, mercy and love. He gives his forgiveness, fresh starts, encouragement, strength, presence, support, comfort and so much more without limit, without grudging and without preconditions.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
On the subject of grace, I used to play for a church football team in a local league. Most of the lads were not Christians, but it was our tradition to pray before a match. On one occasion there weren’t any Christians available but the lads still felt that they ought to pray so one of them prayed the only prayer he could remember – grace from school:
“For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.”
The team got hammered 9-0. They saw the funny side of it!