Your Grace Is Enough for Me; and this Tennis Racket
by Brooke West
According to…well ok-it’s probably not important to anyone else – but according to me, and maybe Seinfeld, the meaning of a sentence totally hinges upon where the emphasis lands on the key words. (“These pretzels are making me thirsty.” “These pretzels are making me thirsty” “These pretzels are making me thirsty” you get the point.)
Let’s look at one that has kind of always tugged at me: Your grace is enough for me. I probably don’t need to restate it but I will- I’m not the theologian my husband is; not by miles and miles. But last Sunday, Pastor Dan’s message really got to me in a way I wasn’t prepared for. It started a thought process that I chased down a rabbit hole and have ended up maybe a little more confused than I started. Perhaps you can help me with some insight and correct me if needed or just provide your own thoughts, or maybe share one of your own with the class. Or you can think that I’ve completely lost my mind and pray for Greg and his poor crazy wife immediately.
“Your grace is ENOUGH for me” I personally don’t care for the pronunciation of this sentence. To me- and I am open to being corrected if I just don’t understand- but to ME, this says, “Ok God, you’re cool and all. And your grace is enough for me. It is all I need. Your grace.” But because we’re stupid humans, we then add to that in the manner of Steve Martin from The Jerk, “Your grace is all I need. And maybe this tennis racket. Your grace, and this tennis racket, and maybe this chair, and that’s all I need. And this ashtray. Ok, your grace and this tennis racket, this chair and this ashtray that’s all I need.” We throw these ridiculous constraints on God’s love and grace and basically make them void and ruin the spirit in which they are given! There are some churches that actually teach that you can fall out of grace and lose your salvation, I think that pretty much contradicts the whole spirit of grace! I grew up in a church like that. I wish I had known this was bad theology because I don’t think I would have wound up rebelling against church as much as I did as a teenager. Of course, there is the possibility that I’m reading too much into the pronunciation of a sentence.
“YOUR grace is enough for me” With the emphasis on the first word, to my mind, this is a prayer of praise. It says, ‘Heavenly Father, you are so majestic and amazing that it blows my mind. No other person or thing could capture my heart or imagination more. Only Your grace can provide the peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you, Lord.’ Here, there is reverence and awe and thankfulness at being a child of the Living God.
“Your grace is enough for ME” emphasis on the last word. To me this says, “I’m flawed. And I don’t deserve Your grace. And though I don’t deserve it, it is enough for the lowest of lows, namely… me. Your grace is the air I breathe and the rock to which I cling to. Your grace is amazing and I’m thankful for it.” This is one of my most commonly used pronunciations of this sentence, because He is amazing and I’m less than dirt, yet He sees ME! And HE loves ME! I’m insignificant but He loves my soul. How could that not get to you?
“Your GRACE is enough for me” This one, (again to ME and not necessarily anyone else on the planet) says, “Of all the many gifts You’ve given this ridiculous species, grace, Your grace is the most amazing. Your grace sent your son to die on the cross for us. Your grace saves us from ourselves. Your grace is undeserved yet you freely give it. Your grace is abused but you stand firm. Your grace covers the least of us.” To me this sentence with the emphasis on the second word is about gratitude for redemption. I know that I fall back on theme of redemption a lot, but redemption intrigues me though I don’t fully understand it. I don’t fully understand it because I’m human, and like most humans have a propensity toward harboring bitterness.
Pastor Dan said something in his message Sunday that gave me a ‘wow’ moment. And that was, ‘in order to have a whole and healthy life of a Christian, you must live a life of gratitude.’ Some of you are thinking, ‘well duh!’ And it’s not that it was exactly news to me, but still- so completely simple and…wow. In the hurries and worries of everyday life how much gratitude do we show? And if we’re full of bitterness- (like a lot of us are) can you show that gratitude through your bitterness? I firmly believe the answer is no. Bitterness = Pain = Blindness. And if we’re blind to what’s going on around us, how can we be grateful for it? I don’t have that answer, that’s between you and God. But if His grace is enough for you, then whatever bitterness you are holding has to be let go because you don’t have room for it. Because His grace IS enough.
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