“Grace sets the Christian faith apart from every other world religion. What is grace? Simply put, grace is God’s unmerited favor. You cannot earn grace; you cannot do anything to deserve grace. It is simply God doing something for you with no strings attached. God’s grace is solely motivated by love: deep, abiding, unconditional, sacrificial love.” Warren Wiersbe
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah is on the mountaintop and seeing great blessing as he serves God, yet just a chapter later he is in despair. Last week, I was in chapter 18 but the last 3 days have been a chapter later and I have been despondent, like Elijah, wanting to run away from my ministry and hide. It has been a struggle and so this morning, I decided to go and sit in a public area away from my office.
As I walked to a seat, I was pleading with God to give me a sign that this ministry was worth it, that it was worth persevering, to give me a sign of hope. On sitting down, and with immediacy, the raven fed me. A man came up to me on his mobility scooter and began a conversation. It was a conversation when the man quickly opened up about his life, both good and bad, and over 30 minutes or so we were talking about Christ, forgiveness and hope for the future. It was an important conversation – as he said goodbye there was the opportunity to pray for him and he promised to go away and reflect on what we spoke about.
Like Elijah being fed by the raven, God was feeding me with hope. This ministry is worth it, it is worth persevering and this conversation was that slither of hope that I had cried out for. God’s grace was not just apparent, it exploded in these moments. An explosion of grace…beautiful!
The HTB leadership conference (2013) has been a good one. At some point, I may get around to writing some notes but there was one thing that has struck me. The willingness to give things away.
The event is staged well, the standards are high, yet the willingness to ‘give it up’ and ‘hand it out’ has been wonderful. Live stream, free to any who have Internet connection, use of buildings…even when they could be closed to prepare the next event, the helpfulness of the stewards, the time given (even in tiredness) of team members.
These folk know how to give ‘free gifts’ and they are for anyone…a lesson for us all.