Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace. Ephesians 1
Grace. Maybe you are familiar with the acrostic that is often used to help define the word grace; God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It is used to remind us that the riches we receive freely from God were paid for by Christ. The gift that is free for us is free only because it was purchased by Someone else. That is part of the meaning, but there is more. This free gift, the riches at Christ’s expense, is God extending Himself to us. He IS the gift. He gives Himself. We settle too often for a diamond when God has provided the entire treasure box. We are far too easily pleased.
As I follow the word grace through the New Testament, I find Paul using it in the opening and closing of Romans, and Corinthians, and Galatians, and Ephesians, and Philippians, and Colossians, and Thessalonians, and Timothy, then Philemon. Grace is how he says hello. Grace is how he says good-bye. He extends it at the beginning, and at the end. The sheer repetition alone should cause us to pay attention to his practice of offering grace to believers, but I am captivated by his use at both ends of so many letters. He sandwiches his message with grace.
How would it look in my life if I sandwiched others with grace? What would happen if I habitually favored others from the very beginning, from the very first second of knowing them or knowing about them? And what if I graced them with favor even after I became acquainted with all their hurts, and pains, and brokenness? Freely I have received, freely I should give. Echoes of mercy. Whispers of love.
From the Echoes of Encouragement series by CCRagamuffin at Resting in His Grace.