Proportioned Grace

Monday 6 February 2023

We, at our best, are like the moon,

(that shines fullgolden, mysteriously down on us)

wondrous reflections

of God’s Light.

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it? I the Lord test the mind and search the heart, to give to all according to their ways, according to the fruit of their doings.

Galatians 6:9

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

Words of Grace For Today

Francine gave most of her bountiful produce from her raised garden beds each year to others in need. But one person received the most. He lived in an old folks home. She would visit him each Sunday afternoon. During the harvest she’d bring bushels of produce and set them in his room. She would tell him each time that the vegetables were good for him, he should eat and enjoy them and the life they gave him. This old man had not lost any of his sharp mind, though his body was slowly giving out on him so that his mobility and daily care were always an increasing concern.

As she left, his friends would come to visit him. She was glad that they did, though she knew that this visit was more than a visit. It was an exchange. For her fresh produce he would trade them for all sorts of treats, sweet breads, pastries, and chocolates. She had known this was the deal for almost as long as she had been bringing him the produce. But what was she to do? He was a grown man, still with a sharp mind. It was his choice to give away the good produce for food that the dietitian strictly denied him, but which he’d always enjoyed too much, as he had all his life, and as was poisoning what life he had left. It would not be long now.

What was she to do? Her mother had died decades ago, and this man was her father, who had raised her, cared for her, protected her, and taught her to be generous with everything she had. Her Pappa got everything she could give while he was still alive. He certainly did not need ‘advice’ from her. He’d call it and it would really be nagging.

He had also taught her that many people in many ways would try to teach that everyone got according to what they did, good for good, bad for bad. But he had shown her that this was blatantly not true in life, and also not true according to Jesus. For God was always more generous, gracious, forgiving, and merciful than anyone ever deserved or earned.

The only way that we can understand that God gives us according to our ways and the fruit of our labour is the simple truth:

The worse our ways and the more evil the fruit of our labours, the more merciful and hopeful God is that we will turn, confess our bountiful sins, repent, and return, so that God can demonstrate how loving, forgiving, and life-giving God is to all God’s people.

Not that we need go out of our way to sin so that God can make a good demonstration out of us. If we are honest with ourselves and confess our sins, they already are more than enough for God’s demonstration to be an amazing display of the power of forgiveness, so as to astound anyone who cares to pay attention!

So this day, yes, we give it our best effort. Most of all we trust that God will bring from us all that God wishes: that we might reflect Christ’ light, mercy, and love to all people.