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I’m back. Just a practical post today on grace. Grace can be defined as the unmerited favor of God. Perhaps as a child you learned the acronym that GRACE stands for: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Through Christ we have received blessings and benefits that we did not deserve or earn through any merit of our own.

Undeserved favor. We all like to be on the receiving end of undeserved favor! Right? But, if we are honest, we hesitate to be on the giving side of grace. After all, grace is not fair. We want people to get what they deserve, not what they don’t deserve! C’mon, be honest now – we are stingy with giving out grace. I don’t want to over-simplify the issue, as we need wisdom about how to best extend grace to others at times. But perhaps a way to get better at giving out grace is to start with simple things.

Several years ago I was listening to a radio program by Chip Ingram and something he shared has always stayed with me. He was traveling with a friend, and if I remember right, they stopped to use the bathroom at a gas station. His friend, before leaving the bathroom, proceeded to spend a minute or two cleaning it…picking up some trash, wiping a surface with a paper towel, etc. Chip was like “what are you doing?!?!” – And his friend replied that a Christian should leave anywhere he goes better than when he arrived. Isn’t that grace? Gas station bathrooms don’t have a good reputation for cleanliness. Yet the next person would be graced with a cleaner bathroom. Or the custodian who arrived to clean it would find his job a bit easier.

How can we extend grace to others? Begin by looking for little ways to leave a place better than when you arrived! Pick up after yourself, even if it is “someone else’s job” to do it. Make their job a little easier, or the place a little better for the next person. Perhaps cultivating grace in such little ways, will help us develop grace with the bigger things in life. If we can’t be graceful with less significant things, how will we ever be graceful with more significant things? Begin today…

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'” Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14-17)