Portions of Grace

Do you remember the story of Elijah, the widow, and the container of oil that never ran out? In the midst of a severe drought, with the prophet and her own son to care for, we can all imagine how cautious the widow must have felt making cakes day after day. But, according to the word of the Lord, the household ate for many days, the jar of flour was never spent and the jug of oil never emptied. How did that happen? It was a supernatural work of God.

The Christian life is also supernatural. It should not be explainable except for God’s work in us. According to Philippians 2, we’re to give ourselves for others, to treat them as more important than ourselves, and to see Christ as our model for humility such as this. That sort of a serving life is supernatural.

I’d like to knead that dough a little more. I think it’s a common experience for us to be very cautious with the portions of grace we give to others. We know that we’re supposed to give it, so we’re careful to position ourselves on the giving side of the line. But we also try to stay as close to the line as possible for fear that our bottle might run dry. Sure. We all understand that. That’s natural.

The problem is that we’re supposed to be supernatural, and being on the opposite side of the stingy line is not necessarily supernatural generosity.

As we angle to guard our flour and hoard our oil, we reflect a God who is not grace-full. We have received from His fulness, a fulness that is never spent and grace that is never emptied. Serving is better than no serving but, according to the word of the Lord, by the Holy Spirit, He fills us for much more than panicky, self-protective, bottom of the barrel serving.