The Fourth Grace

Thursday morning, I wrote about the three graces that Zacchaeus received from Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: hunger, acceptance and transformation.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson

The Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson

The Rev. Dr. Michael Thompson preached on the Bible story at our Lenten Service on Wednesday evening and I’ve been thinking about the “simple story about grace” ever since.

Rev. Thompson had concluded by asking each of us which one of the graces we needed the most that evening and I was quick to think, “more transformation” for me. I believe that the life of a Christian is constant learning and refinement; we are incrementally transformed each day.

The story of Zacchaeus is recounted in a linear fashion, first Zacchaeus hungers for Jesus, and when Jesus accepts him, Zacchaeus is then transformed from the devious and corrupt tax collector into the man who cares for the poor and rights all wrongs.

I’ve pondered Rev. Thompson’s message and my life has been somewhat different. It hasn’t been linear with the three graces set out like stepping-stones in an orderly garden. Instead the trinity of graces ebbs and flows. Sometimes I am in the grace of “transformation” but then doubt creeps back in and I long to have the grace of “acceptance” by Christ all over again.

I’d tried over and over to conquer the sins that plagued me, only to fail again. I wasn’t living the life that God had intended for me, but it was through the help of encouraging Christian friends that I found my life being transformed. When I realized the immense power that Jesus has to transform my life when I couldn’t do it, I was finally able to accept His love. Now the hunger that I have to know Jesus more is the driving grace.

As I prayed about the three graces, a fourth grace entered my prayer time: gratitude. I am so grateful for the life that I am living. It is the one that God intended for me and I enjoy each new mystery.


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