Written by Ron Buford
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." - Ephesians 2: 1 – 10
Someone accused me of preaching "cheap grace." He suggested that I somehow made God's grace seem so accessible, so without requirement, that I cheapened God's grace.
I thought for a moment and said, "Thank you. God's grace is so cheap, it's free!"
Many well-meaning religious teachers taught us that there are requirements for God to love us. But Jesus says this is a lie.
It is a lie that fits our human desire to earn and accomplish, for order and control. And while these traits can be good for successful living and moral discipline, they are not requirements to receive God's grace. Jesus called people who teach such things about God, "thieves and robbers."
Receive God's really good news. Hear and accept God's gracious invitation, "Just love me." God says. "Love me with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. See how that feels and then share the love that wells up within you with everyone until they feel it, too—no exceptions. Hanging out with me changes everything!"
When I have trouble loving anyone or am looking for excuses to make it right for me to judge others, this only lasts as long as I am not mindful of God's inexhaustible love for me. The two states of mind cannot co-exist in me. How about you?
Gracious God, Help me stop trying to save myself. I repeatedly fall in and out of trying. Thank you for loving me no matter what. Help me grow in mindfulness of your presence, your love, your grace. May the overflow of your presence, love, and grace in me touch others, even those closest to me. Amen.
Ron Buford is the Pastor of the Congregational Community Church of Sunnyvale, UCC, Sunnyvale, California.