Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bowl full of grace

This blue bowl.

There’s nothing special about it.  But don’t tell my kids that. To them, it’s the all coveted LIGHT BLUE BOWL.  It is THE bowl from which to eat cereal, goldfish, ice cream.  In the morning, the first words out of each of my kids’ mouths is “I want the light blue bowl!  I’m gonna get the light blue bowl!”  They scurry and flutter to be the first child dressed and down in the kitchen, skidding to the cupboard in their socks, to snag the coveted light blue bowl.

The winning child usually gloats and cuddles the bowl until its filled with Cheerios.  The loser usually falls in a puddle crying, shouting about the injustice of it all.  When the bowl is dirty, it is suddenly my fault that none of the other 15 bowls in the cupboard will do.  It doesn’t help that my response is usually one of complete impatience.

I’m so over the light blue bowl.

My knee jerk reaction was to get a 2nd blue bowl.  $2 and problem solved, right?  Sloan wants to throw the bowl away.  After all, if your eye causes you to sin, you’re to cut it out, right? However, both solutions are insufficient.

We could make sure they each had their own light blue bowl.  Or we could toss it.  But sooner or later they’d find something else to throw elbows over.  Perhaps suddenly the Spiderman bowl would be all the rage.

But the problem isn’t the bowl.  It’s them.  It’s us.  It’s me.  At some point, we've all got to learn to handle someone else having that thing which we most want or how to be gracious to those waiting patiently.  And perhaps we need to learn that the blessings we have right at our fingertips is all that we really need.

We want a thing so much that we’re willing to fight for it.  Never mind that our having that thing makes our brother cry.  After all, he should not have doddled while getting dressed.  No matter that we promised him yesterday he could have it.  

Or maybe it’s me that is crying about how you have the bowl and I don’t.  Sure, I could get another bowl that’s just as good or maybe even better, but that fact that you want it makes me NEED it.  And to get it I will whine and complain and perhaps even pull you out of your chair to get it.
Most times, I treat God’s favor and blessing like that light blue bowl.  If you have it, then I do not.  Maybe I’ll get it if I just try harder.  Maybe I can guilt you into sharing your blessings with me.  Maybe I’ll just blame God for blessing you and not me.

But y’all, hear me when I say this:

We do not get less blessing because someone else seems to have more.  Grace isn’t doled out first come first serve.  It’s not reserved for the most eloquent, spiritual, best dressed, or level headed.  It cannot, in fact, be earned.  Nor is it something to be Lorded over others or clung to, white knuckled, for fear that we might lose it.  Grace is ours to keep.  No take backs.

In God’s economy, grace multiplies when shared.  Even the tiniest amount of grace, when lifted up in thanksgiving and poured out for others, can feed multitudes.  With buckets of leftovers.  


It’s a person.  And from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.

So what’s  your blue bowl?

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