Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Grace For Faith: The Perfect Trade

Jimbo always came late to my room every morning. He’d lay in wait in the hallway until we began the recitation of the pledge, and then he would slide into his seat hoping I would be busy and not notice. His excuse….”Aw, gee, Mrs. Elementaryhistoryteacher those cafeteria ladies are S-L-O-W.”

I knew better. God didn’t make me a momma first and a teacher second for nothing. Mommy vibes are very useful in the classroom. You see, I knew Jimbo was a player…a real heavy hitter in the underground trading culture that flourishes on most school campuses, and I was already aware through my large network of spies and informants that Jimbo was stopping off in the boy’s restroom everyday to conduct a little business.

I had begun to notice that Jimbo’s trading tactics were on a slippery slope sliding precariously close to out and out bullying. In other words, Jimbo wasn’t making fair trades. He was pressuring kids to bring their prized items from home and then trading them for some piddling item of lesser value.

The whole thing was more than just bullying. Jimbo was violating an economic principal that most sane people appreciate---the concept of strict exchange or value for value. Think of various trades you have made in the past. When Jimbo convinced another student to give up his cherry cobbler for carrot salad the victimized student was agreeing that the cobbler and the salad had the same value---an even trade. When the student complained to me a few minutes later I had to remind him about the rule regarding no trading. The lunch line had closed and Jimbo unfortunately had already licked the cobbler’s golden brown crust, so it was clear there was going to be no untrading that day, so the victimized student relearned a valuable lesson that day. Once again he was shown that trades should be value for value.

Throughout our lives we a receive reinforcement over and over regarding strict exchange, so it shouldn’t be surprising that humans have great difficulty grasping the concept of grace. The Lord gives us grace so that we may have eternal life and a promise of Heaven. The Lord’s grace is a “must have” ingredient in our daily walk with the Lord.

He gives us grace freely; however, we are so entrenched with the notion of strict exchange we look for ways to earn grace even though there is nothing we can trade or do to equal the value of the Lord’s grace. The only thing we must do in order to receive God’s grace is exhibit faith. Ephesians 2: 8-9 states for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith---and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God---not by works, so that no one can boast.

God brings grace to the trading table. Mankind is responsible for faith. Out of all of the trades I can think of it is the only one where it does not matter that it is not a strict exchange or value for value situation. I truly do not deserve God’s grace, but I’m awfully glad he provides it.

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Jane said...

What a wonderful post. I love how you use the story of Jimbo to introduce God's grace. A beautiful analogy. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

EHT said...

Hi Jane....thanks. The beginning was no real problem and I had a idea of where I wanted to end up but marrying the parts of the analogy was bit difficult for some reason. Maybe God just need me to ponder on it a bit.

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