What an Ex-Convict Taught Me about God's Grace
We had just purchased a home, after a long drawn-out process, and money was tight. We had enough food but the pickings were slim.
I don’t think I directly asked God to help, but pouted and said something like, “It’d sure be nice if we had some more options for meals around here.”
Not long after my lament my husband brought home several boxes of food.
I felt embarrassed before the Lord at my inner tantrum—He provided again. Why had I doubted? Why had I so quickly forgotten all the times that He had come through?
When I asked my husband where the food came from he told me that an ex-con, who attended our church, had given them to us. He had been given more than he could use and he wanted to bless others with it.
I stopped in my tracks, humbled and astounded that God used a man fresh out of prison to bless our family.
What a generous display of grace.
This man’s apartment contains a few hand-me-down pieces of furniture, his clothes are plain, and his whereabouts are tethered to the system, yet he gave out of the small surplus that he had.
It made a huge impact on me and honestly, shut me up in the best kind of way.
I definitely did not deserve this kind of gift, yet God prompted this man to answer my cry with his simple act of giving away what he could not use.
I was convicted and my perspective shifted as I realized that someone, with much more lack than me, saw past himself to help others. It made me want to be more generous and sensitive to the Spirit—to be used to uplift others.
When I saw this man at church I tried to express the depth of our thanks but he blew if off, saying, “Don’t thank me. I was given more than I could use.”
It reminded me of another man from long ago, who was falsely accused of crimes. He, Jesus, gave generously to a most undeserving people. He had little earthly goods yet he was rich in Spirit.
He gave all to cover our lack and provide a way for us to be tethered to Home—and God’s heart—once and for all.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT).
Jesus has provided a surplus for us, of forgiveness, provision and love—and oh so much generous grace.
The ex-prisoner pointed me to Jesus. He reminded me that my needs and desires are seen by the One who came to set me free.
Jesus extended mercy to the prisoner beside him as he was upon the cross. And this modern day prisoner extended kindness to me as I secretly complained about the weight of my daily cross.
I want to give up the tantrums and lean in to my Trustworthy Savior.
I want to be more grateful for what I already have—salvation and sustenance and so much more.
I want to live open-handed and be generous with what I’ve already been given.
I want to be sensitive to the needs of others and show them Jesus in tangible ways.
Thank You for Your extravagant gift of grace. We do not deserve Your Kindness. We haven’t and can’t earn Your Love, but You freely give it to us. We were prisoners in our sin yet You left the joy of Heaven to sacrifice all on our behalf. Thank You for Your example. Thank You for giving us all we need for life and godliness. Help us to be Your hands and feet in a hurting world. May we live generously because You have been so generous with us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Related Video: How Does a Relationship with Jesus Help Us Live Courageously?
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her husband, four children and their life in ministry. Through writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She has an album, Echoes of My Heart, and is a writer for God-sized Dreams and Purposeful Faith. She blogs at katiemreid.com and can be found on Twitter @Katie_M_Reid