Several months ago our family received a generous gift. While discussing the matter with a friend they casually commented, "That is great! You deserve it!" As I thought about this I was reminded that our casual conversation is often not very precise and unfortunately all too often not rooted in grace. I returned comment to my friend that actually we did not deserve it, but we were very thankful for the gift even so. They looked at me like I was from outer space!
Time did not permit to exegete Scripture on the matter during my water cooler exchange, however I will take a moment now. The Scripture teaches us that mankind is the undeserving beneficiary of a gracious God. Every good thing we possess is the result of God’s gracious blessing. Sinners like our selves could not begin to earn these blessings. Furthermore, if any one of us appears to have more good or less evil than another, that too is from the wise hand of God’s grace.
Paul challenged the egocentric Corinthians thus, "For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn't receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (I Corinthians 4:7 WEB). Not one stitch of the good things we have are deserved. Rather God has freely chosen to bless his people because of his gracious choice.
On this same note, Bob Carlisle sings a heart moving tear jerking song titled Butterfly Kisses about the special relationship between a father and a daughter. I have three daughters myself and I am moved by the song. Yet as incredibly moving as the lyrics are, I will point out that one particular line falls short of grace. Carlisle sings, "With all that I've done wrong I must have done something right to deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night." Grace, however, teaches us that we do not deserve even one good thing, but in fact damnation. But God because of his grace does not give his people damnation, but instead good things, such as special butterfly kisses from our daughters.
Now I have absolutely no intent to undermine or devalue the wonderful song of Bob Carlisle. I still enjoy this song myself and look forward to hearing it on the radio. However, I do hope to do my part to testify to the amazing grace of God in this world. If we are moved to tears by Butterfly Kisses, how much more will we be moved to follow Christ by the knowledge of his grace in our lives? We didn’t do a lot of wrong that can be made up by doing something right! Friends, we have wronged beyond repair and no doing of right can even the score. Only the work of a perfect Christ can reverse the effects of our sins. And this he has done at the cross of Calvary. And what is more he also calls redeemed sinners such as us to great works such as Christian parenting and the like.
As we lean over to kiss our children good night how much more should we be moved to tears that God entrusts us with the awesome task of raising his little ones, not because we deserve it, but because of his grace. And how much more should we be moved to ask God to make us equal to the task!