You Already Know More Than You Need to Know

Recently on Facebook, a friend posted this encapsulation of Biblical advice. It doesn’t have a title, but it includes several short lines that could serve: “It’s not rocket science” or “Just go do it.” I chose the final line because it’s a good reminder that we are all equipped and empowered for kindness and compassion. My friend who made the post is an ordained minister, but this advice is for all of us.

One of the most “Christian” individuals I have ever met described herself as an atheist. I met her on a trip years ago and no longer remember her name, but I remember the way she interacted with other people. Her mode of being was to be kind, to give of herself, to encourage others, to treat everyone with respect and courtesy, to constantly show love to the people she encountered.

You could reply that she was missing the important one “Worship God.” Matthew 22:37 says that Jesus emphasized two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The John Ortberg quote above pretty well captures those two commandments in language anyone can understand.

It appeared to me that the young woman I met on the trip had figured out how to live the second commandment. That seems like an excellent avenue for finding the way to the first commandment.

           

Grace

A friend in Indiana pointed me to the books of Richard Paul Evans, who is a skilled storyteller in the inspirational genre. I hadn’t read his work before, but he’s published a lot for a guy who is only 52.

I picked up his novel The Road to Grace at the library. The title page notes that this is the third journal of The Walk series. I’m sure I’ll look for more from him.

The story is about a man, a once-successful advertising executive, who has suddenly lost everything of value to him: his wife from complications following a riding accident, his business through the deceit of his business partner, and finally his home through foreclosure. He sets off on a cross-country journey on foot with nothing more than a backpack. Among the people he encounters is his mother-in-law, who follows him unrelentingly until she finally obtains his forgiveness.

The character has numerous insights along the way, and the one that has most remained with me has to do (as you might expect) with grace. Evans writes: “Grace sustains us on our journeys, no matter how perilous they may be and, make no mistake, they are all perilous. We need not hope for grace, we merely need to open our eyes to its abundance.”

The Bible repeatedly defines grace as God’s unmerited favor. We can’t possibly earn it, but it is there for the mere accepting of it.