Every Sunday we have a small group that meets at our house. I count these people among my closest friends, and they love me for me—not for anything I’ve accomplished in life or anything I strive to accomplish. They are my cheerleaders and my inner circle. They also tell me what I need to hear even when I don’t want to hear it! (Now those are good friends!)
This is our second “small group” of friends. When we left Montana I hated leaving our small group behind. I STILL count those people my dearest friends. What a good God that He doesn’t take away from my friendships. Instead, when we moved to Little Rock, He added to them.
In Montana, one of the studies we went through was the DVD study for What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. It was a great study that has led to deep study and lots of commentary. It was also a study that stretched me. In doing that study I realized there were lots of areas that I needed to work on being more grace-full. I do great with people who like me and believe the same as I do. I have a harder time with people who don’t value my opinion or who actively oppose my point of view. (I know, it’s hard to believe. . . .)
Looking back I could see clearly that God prepared me THEN for what He had for me NOW. In Little Rock there are far more people different from me than similar to me. We’re attending a multi-ethnic and multi-economic church in the inner city. I greet both homeless people and U.S. senators during the meet-and-greet at church. It’s awesome, amazing, and stretching. My grace has grown as I’ve been kicked out of my comfort zone!
When it comes to grace, there is one key place we need to look for inspiration. As the well-loved Bible verse 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WORLD that WHOSOEVER believes …” Lately, I’ve been praying God will help me offer the grace of God to whosoever He brings in my path. And I’m also praying He reminds of this before I disgrace myself!
Here’s a quote by George Mueller that compliments this thought.
A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; a hand through which Christ helps.
That’s what I want to be: mind, heart, voice, hand . . . and pen.
And even as I type these words I’m thinking about what the next ten years will hold for me and my small group. In my weakness by God’s grace abound!
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20. Lord, I’m so thankful that you saw me and showed compassion for me when I was a long way off! May I continue to reach out to others and show compassion to those who are still “a long way off,” and may my compassion draw them closer to You!
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