We were reminiscing the other day with our kids about their favorite books when they were little. One of the favorites was “Picky Mrs. Pickle”. The riveting plot of “Picky Mrs. Pickle” is that our protagonist will only ever order pickle ice cream at Igor’s Ice Cream Shop! She absolutely refuses to ever try the tomato flavor or the eggplant ripple ice cream. Spoiler alert: eventually Picky Mrs. Pickle is persuaded by her niece to try something new!
Now laying aside the lesson of the book about trying new things, can you imagine such an ice cream shop with such flavors?! I have to seriously question their product development team! All this got me to thinking: what do I have to offer? What are you and I serving up? I do not mean in terms of ice cream or other food. What I mean is this, when people encounter us, what words, what attitudes, what actions will they receive from us?
You do not have to be a psychologist or doctor to know that:
- People are stressed. They are stressed about health, about jobs, about relationships, about the state of our country, to name just a few.
- People are fearful. The future is so uncertain. The media is never content to deal with the day’s issues. They frighten us with one “what if” after another. What if an asteroid hit the earth? What if sun explodes? What if sharks grow legs?
- People are broken. Almost everyone has a deep pain somewhere in their life. They may be able to put on a bold front. They may be good at hiding it. I do not remember the author, but I have long remembered this quote: “everyone is trying to swallow something that won’t go down.”
- People are limited. None of us have the full picture or perspective. Sure, we can learn and understand more. But even the most educated person possesses an infinitesimal fraction of all that can be known.
In other words, people are people!
So, what do you and I have to offer to people? Are we offering them impatience? Are we offering them anger? Are we offering them contempt? Are we offering them unnecessary opinions? Are we offering them meaningless platitudes and slogans? What are we offering to others?
The Apostle Paul tells us what we should be serving up to others:
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6; NKJ)
That is what we have to offer – Grace! That is what we need to be serving up – Grace!
Of course, the starting point is to recognize the incredible grace that God has offered to us in Jesus Christ! We were sinful, rebels against God, failures in almost every way in regard to God’s expectations. But instead of abandoning or even destroying us – as he had every right to do – God offered grace! God gave us his son, Jesus Christ, who in turn gave himself for us upon the cross. In Christ, we are saved, adopted, made wealthy with heavenly riches, given the promise of eternal life and unimaginable glory! Grace upon grace, Paul says!
Now, it is our turn to offer the grace that we have received to others. How can you serve up grace? How can you offer people grace?
- Grace people with a listening ear.
- Grace people with words of encouragement.
- Grace people with real hope.
- Grace people with prayer for their needs and well-being.
- Grace people with forgiveness, even when they have blown it.
- Grace people with understanding, even when you don’t agree.
- Grace people with patience, even when you are feeling rushed.
- Grace people with kindness, even when you feel they may not deserve it.
- Grace people with biblical wisdom instead of unfounded opinions.
- Grace people with the Gospel that opens the door to eternal life.
- Grace people with Agape Love, even when you don’t feel love.
You get the idea! The word “grace” means a “gift”; so to offer grace means to give a gift of that which God has given to us through Jesus Christ.
Grace to you today!