As I get older, I seem to learn more lessons from the little.
That’s true in many areas of life, but especially in spiritual matters. Recently, I have learned a little more about what grace is.
Last month, I put up three bird feeders in my backyard. I put out the first feeder, and I did not see a bird for two weeks. But then I noticed that it was empty. Something had eaten the food. So I filled it, and a week later it was nearly empty again. Still, I had not seen a bird.
This time, I waited until Friday afternoon to refill the feeder. That way, I could watch on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Sure enough, the birds came. I got so excited that I put up two more feeders with different kinds of food. Now every day, I see dozens a little birds coming in and out. I still have not yet seen a cardinal. But I am enjoying my birds.
Did I mention that I have two bird dogs in my backyard? Now, I admit that I do not hunt. I have never trained them. But a bird dog has instincts, right? One morning, I look out my window. There must have been 20 birds on the ground or the feeders closest to my porch. And there sat those two wonderful dogs, 10 feet away, just watching the birds eat.
So I went to the door, turned the latch and stepped outside. As if on cue, both dogs went ballistic, barking and running at the birds like it was their mission in life. Once all the birds had flown to the safety of the trees, Bandit and Blaze quickly returned to the porch, sat at my feet and looked up at me as if to say, “Did you see that? We’ve done our jobs. Feed us.” And do you know what I did? I gave them both a treat. They did not earn it. They did not deserve it. But I gave it to them anyway.
Sometimes, I wonder if God looks at me with the same thoughts I had of my two dogs. I love them both, but there are times when I realize that they are absolutely worthless for anything of real value. Still, I take care of them. They might be useless, but they are mine.
The Bible says, “Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” That basically means that we cannot earn anything from God. None of our good deeds are worthy of him. And yet he loves us, provides for us and cares for us. That’s what grace means. And I am grateful for it.
We need a better understanding of grace. We are dependent on it. We need it. The good news is simple. God gives grace. And for that, we are thankful.