WHEN GRACE BECOMES SOMETHING YOU EARN…

MATTHEW 20:13-16: “But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.” (ESV)

OBSERVATION: Grace is a wonderful thing…until you think you’ve earned it. In essence this statement is oxymoronic. Grace would cease to be grace if it was something you earned. Grace is God’s unmerited favor and love. How can you earn that? Yet, this is what so often happens in the life of the believer. We meet Jesus Christ at the point of our brokenness and sin. He comes and redeems us, pardons our sin, cleanses our soul, fills us with His Spirit, and gives us gifts of Grace. We begin to serve Him joyfully, abiding in His Word, spending time in prayer, worshipping with the saints. Life begins as a glorious journey – UNTIL…

UNTIL…we begin to forget our humble beginnings. UNTIL…we begin to believe that our current blessed state has something to do with our effort and goodness rather than His Divine Grace. UNTIL…we find ourselves looking with judgment upon others. UNTIL…we begin resenting someone else when they are greatly blessed, thinking – they are not as committed, they are not as involved, they have not put in the time that we have! When this begins to take place we have begun to think that Grace is something we have earned rather than something freely given.

When this happens we need to remember this parable. We need to hear the words of Jesus – “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” What should our attitude be? We should rejoice when anyone receives the Great Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! We should join with the company of the angels in celebration! We should follow the example of our Heavenly Father and join in the celebration as one who was lost is now found! It is a time for rejoicing, for thankfulness, for wonder and awe upon the greatness of the Grace of Jesus Christ that sets a sinner free!

The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of reversals. It reverses our normal human response to a heavenly response. The last will be first. The greatest will be a servant. The one who is found will be the one who has joyfully lost all. We need to maintain this understanding throughout our Christian life. It is not only our understanding – it is our call. Without it we will form enclaves of “self-righteous” people turned inward – and neglect our “holy calling” as Ambassadors for Christ imploring the lost to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have forgotten the greatness of Your Amazing Grace! Give me a heart that will joyfully go to the end of the line, that will heartily serve others, and that will count everything loss for the excellency of knowing Jesus Christ! May my life be an extension of Your Grace to all those I meet. In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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