Category Archives: Grace

Multiplying Grace

Are we multiplying the faith, spiritual gifts, personal talents and love we have received from God?

Jesus deals with this question through a parable reported in both the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  (Mt. 25:14-30; Lk. 19:12-27)  In each of these parables, a man goes on a journey and entrusts various sums of money to his servants.  In Matthew’s account, two of the servants invest the money and double what was given to them.  A third servant buried what was given to him.

When the master returned he sought an accounting from his servants.  For the two servants who doubled what was given to them, the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful with a few things.  I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness.”

To the third servant who buried the talent given him out of fear of his master, the master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?”  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”

In the harshest of all of Jesus’ responses to sin and wrongdoing, he has the master saying, “Take the talent from him and give to the one who has ten talents.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

This is a sobering message.  We have a responsibility to utilize the talents, gifts and grace that God offers us.  If we do, we have the opportunity to share in God’s joy and happiness.  Failure to do so can result in them being taken away and our being separated from God.

God created us in his image and likeness, gave us varied gifts and talents, and assigned us the responsibility to take care of his creation.  He became one of us in the person of Jesus and delegated to us the additional task to make disciples of all nations, giving us the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit to accomplish the task.

In all walks of life, whether athletics, schoolwork, employment, providing for our families and raising our children, the common expectation is that we should  be diligent in doing the best we can.  God’s expectation is no less when it comes to his call for us to bring his presence to the people and circumstances of our lives through our example and word.  

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10)  May our prayer be to never experience the scarcity of God’s presence, as we multiply his love, blessings and grace.   

The Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living

Do we see the goodness of the Lord in our daily lives?

In Psalm 27 we read, “I am still confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (vs. 13) Psalm 27 is a beautiful psalm, full of hope, joy and confidence, even in times of difficulty. It begins by declaring, “The Lord is my light and salvation– whom shall I fear…the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

Through this “light” (knowledge of God and our existence), “salvation” (God’s saving grace) and “stronghold” (God’s protection), we will “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” This is a promise for this life, here and now. Whatever the challenge – a demanding boss, a difficult colleague, an unreasonable customer, the loss of a job, a personal illness, the suffering or loss of a loved one, God’s saving grace is available to us in the present moment.

Phillip Yancey in his book, What’s so Amazing about Grace, tells the story of a rock concert at Wembley Stadium in London in 1988, to celebrate the changes in South Africa. For some reason the promoters scheduled opera singer, Jessye Norman as the closing act to sing, Amazing Grace. For twelve hours various rock groups blasted the fans already high on booze and drugs.

Yancey reports, “Finally the time comes for her to sing. A single circle of light follows Norman, a majestic African-American woman wearing a flowing African dashiki, as she strolls on stage. No backup band, no musical instruments, just Jessye. The crowd stirs, restless. Few recognized the opera diva. A voice yells for more [rock music]. Others take up the cry. The scene is getting ugly.”

“Alone, a capella, Norman begins to sing, very slowly:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now am found–

Was blind, but now I see.

“A remarkable thing happens in Wembley Stadium that night. Seventy thousand raucous fans fall silent before her aria of grace. By the time Norman reaches the second verse, ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved…, the soprano has the crowd in her hands. By the time she reaches the third verse, ‘Tis grace has brought me safe this far, And grace will lead me home,’ several thousand fans are singing along.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,

Bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise

Than when we first begun.”

Jessye Norman later confessed she had no idea what power descended on Wembly Stadium that night. Yancey said, “I think I know. The world thirsts for grace. When grace descends, the world falls silent before it.”

The goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.