Pause for just a minute.
Take a deep breath. Let out the air slowly.
Put your hand to your chest. Feel the thump, thump, thump.
Isn’t life fundamentally incredible? We like to add complexities to it until we forget just how precious simply living is. This is God’s grace provided to everyone, which even goes on to encompass the joys and successes. So if life is a gift of grace to anyone who is alive, what response is expected from everyone?
So often in classic literature, a higher force is referenced, given credit even. Especially in terms of death, authors have used this thread over and over in their storytelling. This discovery stands starkly against what I observe in twenty-first century American culture, and it gives me a picture of what is expected from us.
Just referencing a higher being does not necessarily imply a good God, or the Gospel for that matter. Since this grace is for everyone, though, being theologically correct does not hold nearly as much weight. (Of course people finding eternal salvation in the Gospel is important, but that is a higher step on the staircase that I will tackle in a future post.)
Speaking of the American culture, the mindset that you can make something of yourself and live the “American dream” helps us to forget that any success is given by God. The gift is given to those who work hard, yes, but success is not a result of willpower or talent.
If you refuse to see God in His gifts, they will turn out not to be gifts but High Court evidence of ingratitude. The Bible speaks of them first as “the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience” that point us to repentance (Romans 2:4). But when we presume upon them and do not cherish God’s grace in them, “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5). – ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ (Page 52) by John Piper
There are two parts to responding correctly to this very general grace. First, recognize that life and the joys found within it are gifts from God. Easy enough, right? Just like in those classic books, we give recognition to God for good friends, a job, freedom… the list is practically infinite!
The second step is to thank God for these simple gifts. Logical, right? We’re given something and we say, “thank you” to the the giver.
This is only the very fundamental level of our response to God’s grace; this is the grace that applies to everyone and expects the least response from us. It simply means we are quick to think of, and thank, God. Next week we’ll look at the grace of salvation.