For most of us grace is a hastily recited prayer before a meal. It is said so quickly, and so unthinkingly that it has little to no meaning. It’s a ritual meant to remind us that all sustenance is ultimately a gift from God but how many of us really take the time to think that through and say grace with anything close to a heartfelt thanks?
Recently I started thinking more about grace in my daily life. I’ve taken a few knocks in my day and written about most of them in one form or another here on my blog or any my other published work, I’m an open book so to speak. So I did what I always do when I’m struggling through a concept like this – I Googled it.
Google analytics are a funny thing. When you start typing, the type ahead assumes you mean Gracepoint, or Grace Kelly before the actual word grace. Gracepoint is a TV show about an unsolved murder, Grace Kelly was an actress. It’s a bit of a sad commentary on our society when the most popular searches that start with the word grace actually have nothing to do with the word itself.
I scrolled down to the actual word and found the following definitions.
Simple elegance or refinement of movement
The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
While the first one is nice it’s a bit distressing that is was placed first, again a strange commentary on our society but hey, no biggie. The second definition is right on. As Christ-followers we all agree, or at least we should, that our salvation and blessings are completely unmerited and free.
So when we “say grace” what are we really saying? Thanks for this food, (that I went out and worked for, bought, prepared and put on the table myself, what exactly, did you do again anyway?). Or are we saying, thanks for saving me from a life of meaningless drudgery ending in nothingness?
King Solomon wrote an entire book on how meaningless life could become if we forget about grace.
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”[Ecclesiastes 1:2]
Not exactly the way you would expect the man widely regarded as the wisest man in history to start a book. But Solomon, writing hundreds of years before God’s final revelation of salvation through Jesus comes to one inescapable conclusion. God gives us meaning, through free and unmerited favor.
God gives us grace. All we have to do is ask.
Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it. [Ecclesiastes 12: 6,7]
The next time you pray over a meal, remember what you are doing. Remember, you are thanking God not just for the food, but for everything, for life itself. Grace is thanks giving. Thanksgiving is grace. How then can you live with anything less than a heart of thanksgiving and peace and joy and graciousness to all around you.
Grace is about so much more than food, it’s a way of life.
Have you said grace today?