The word “grace” means many things: goodwill, elegance, a prayer of thanksgiving to God, and the unmerited favor of God. They can all tie together too. I think of grace holistically as: sharing my God-given gifts with others in an elegant way. By sharing the gifts God gave us, it’s a way of saying “thank you” because we are sharing them with our fellow man and woman, whom God loves.
This Ann Voskamp quote reminds me that every little good word I can say or good deed I can do for my brothers and sisters is building up the kingdom of God on Earth. These little gifts of grace may not seem to do much initially, but nonetheless I can scatter them generously throughout my encounters in daily life, like little seeds. These seeds enter others not by force, but gently; the sound of my words are as seeds entering through their ears, and the sight of my actions are as seeds entering through their eyes.
Will all those seeds take root? It’s up to that individual. Some may not take root for many weeks, months, or years, while sadly some may never take root. It shouldn’t discourage us from continuing to spread these gifts of grace and bear witness to the kingdom, however. I can spread the gifts I have to offer and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. As a Christian, I believe in eternal life and that the invitation is for everyone, so to not share the good news of Christ would be selfish and unloving of me.
All grace comes from God, and yet he wants us to be involved in transmitting his grace. I believe God is the head of the Church, and we the body, so we are invited to be his mouth, his hands, his feet, his presence in this world so hungry for authentic love. Our commitment to giving gifts of grace may just be that example, that little quake that compels another heart to do the same in their life.
As a young child, I always saw my parents being extremely generous with what they had, and it had an impression on me. God is always just pouring out his grace upon us and he invites us to do the same. So we are called to shape our heart like a big cup to receive his grace, and then to tip it forward to pass that grace on to others.
Finding a Balance
An important part of giving is also in finding a balance. How much do you pour out the grace received by God? Christ’s Passion was an uninhibited, complete giving of himself unto death. But there were a number of times during his 3 or so years of ministry where the crowds wanted to have him killed. Jesus eluded them because he knew there was a proper time for when he was to hand over his life in the complete sacrifice of his Passion. He wanted to spend those 3 years building up the disciples to prepare them to carry on the mission after he ascended into heaven.
So how much do we give of ourselves at this point in our lives? This video by Chris Stefanick talks about that balance of needing to take care of ourselves (the video is part of his RISE challenge for men, but the advice applies to men and women alike):
I wrote a post about finding the right balance of sharing your money and possessions with some examples from the Gospels: How Much Should I Donate?