Kari Burgess is a Program Director for the Catalyst team, handling promotion and marketing for all of the conferences held at Resurrection, as well as registration and coordinating hospitality volunteers.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I plan to EAT tomorrow. I love Thanksgiving, and I love Thanksgiving food. I love it for the traditions and memories it evokes and I love it purely for the deliciousness of it. Turkey and stuffing with gravy drizzled over the top, real mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, my grandmother’s cranberry salad…all of it. And then the pie. I love pie. I may heap a tablespoon of whipped cream on top of my pumpkin pie. And maybe another heaping tablespoon. Don’t tell anyone, but maybe even ANOTHER heaping tablespoon of whipped cream. And I don’t deserve it. Not at all.
Imagine those heaping tablespoons of whipped cream being the grace extended to us by God. Would you like another one of those? I know I sure would. And do I deserve it? No way.
Simply put, grace is God’s unmerited favor. A kindness from God that we don’t deserve. God sent his grace down to all of us in the form of his son, Jesus, to save us from our sins.
But what does it mean to show grace to others? Extending grace to others is to show kindness even when it’s undeserved, a reflection of what God does for us. Being kind to someone even if they are not kind to us, forgiving, responding kindly to a criticism, looking for ways to be kind to a stranger, saying you are sorry are all ways to show grace to other people.
In today’s text, Paul speaks to a group of skeptics and extends grace to them in a way that meets them where they are theologically and uses their current context to show them the love of God. He doesn’t criticize or tell them they are missing the point. He doesn’t belittle them or tell them that their idols are blasphemous. Instead he finds common ground and builds the case for the one true God using examples they could understand.
We are called to heap grace on skeptics and sinners the same way that God heaps grace on all of us. We are called to meet skeptics where they are, on their terms, finding common ground and ways to engage in their own environment. This doesn’t mean endorsing a faith you don’t believe in or engaging in sinful activity in order to make friends with a skeptic. But it does mean withholding judgment and loving people regardless of circumstances.
This Thanksgiving, let’s heap tablespoons of grace on those around us.
Thanksgiving Life Recipe
2 Heaping cups of patience
1 Heart full of love
2 Hands full of generosity
Dash of joy
1 cup full of understanding
Sprinkle generously with kindness
Add plenty of faith and mix well.
Add heaping tablespoons of grace
Spread over a period of a lifetime.
Best shared with everyone you meet!
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.