I’ve heard it said that Grace is God’s one-way love.  I don’t intend to take away from that truth. Let’s just call it, “making a distinction.”

I love distinctions.  They help me sort out what I’m thinking; they give me an understanding of a concept.  Then it is mine.

Take the word ‘reasonable’.  It used to be a very good word.  But I didn’t know that until 2 years ago.  I grew up with the newer definition.  For example – if I asked to borrow 2 eggs from you and mentioned that I was going to the store the next day and would pay you back – that was a ‘reasonable’ request.  I wasn’t asking TOO MUCH from you – not like: “I need to borrow your one and only car for 3 days. May I please have the keys?”   Definitely UN-reasonable.

But reasonable doesn’t mean that at all!  Saying “yes” to Michael when he asked me to marry him after five weeks of dating happened to be a very REASONable decision.  He was both a philosopher and a good cook; we enjoyed spending lots of time outdoors together; we liked reading & travel; we worked in the same profession and he was cute!!  There you have it- 5 excellent REASONS and I haven’t even gotten warmed up!  That was a REASONABLE decision. (That ‘reasoning’ process took place 33 years ago, come September.)

Do you see why distinctions matter?

So it is with grace. God showers us with individual gifts called grace.  When we stop and notice them, SEE them and drink them in richly and then thank Him, not only are we pleasing our Father, we are enhancing our enjoyment of the gifts.

I saw this most closely yesterday as I was reading Phil 4: 6-7 in French.  That’s the exhortation not to worry about anything but to take every concern to God in prayer, with thanksgiving.  See if you can figure out what the verse means – there are lots of cognates. “…exposez vos requêtes à Dieu par la prière et la supplication avec des actions de grâces ;…. » Look at how the French translate ‘thanksgiving’ – actions de grâce !!!!!

I got to thinking that in some small human-sized way, I can give grace back to God by thanking Him for what He has given to me – in this case, access to Him for supernatural help!  My thanking Him pleases Him; He grants me more than I can ask or imagine according to His will; I see His hand all around me; I rest in His care; I tell Him how much I love His gifts; I feel close to Him; when something else comes up, it’s only natural that I turn to Him since I’ve been talking to Him.  It’s an X-stroke engine that once purring, it is easy to keep running. (why X?  – I don’t know – just seemed like X would indicate more than a limited number like 2 – besides, I don’t know cars!!!)

This is actually borne out by other scripture:  consider Psalm 116: 17to Thee I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving AND call (try substituting: by calling) upon the name of the Lord (i.e. praying!!! – asking for more help)

Some dear folks mistakenly and pridefully reason, “God has too much to do running the universe to take an interest in my problems…besides doesn’t God help those who help themselves?”

No!  But that’s a topic for another distinction..and another blog – what part God does..and what part do we do.  For now let us be like the psalmist in Psalm 131, verse 2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.

Dear Father, help me to see You and to cling to your Goodness like that trusting toddler.  Encourage me to ask for your help when I am in pain, anxiety and confusion.  Cause me to remember to thank you moment by moment.  In sync, in union, in step, in rhythm with your Grace.