“So what you are trying to tell me is the you will lend me money only if I don’t really need it?”
“You who have no money,
Come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.”
Some books just stay with you for years on end. You can see the lines on the page. The shade of the paper. The typeface. Even the original emotion can return in a memory.
Before I knew there was a list of acceptable books and authors, I read everything written by Phillp Yancey. Books. Articles. All of it. And then when I got to Seminary, I continued reading him, even though he seemed a little suspect.
I think about his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? all the time. The stories mainly. But the book’s tone and message stay with me. More than anything he helped me see — we live in a world of “ungrace.”
It’s not only an indictment. It’s a statement of fact. The laws, the rules and the expectations recoil in the face of grace. Conditions upon conditions. We have to look for loopholes as we make our through the marketplace. All is to be traded. Gifts are given but with strings attached. And even when they are given freely, we naturally ask, “What’s the catch?”
We often speak of the glories of God’s grace in Jesus in the context of relationships. Which is right and true. But our world spins on what is earned. At least the world we have created. And we’ve created it in our own image.
I don’t know that the call is for businesses and governments to be more gracious. I’m not sure. But I do know the good news of grace in Christ stands askew to the ungrace they trade in.
This is the world I work in now. This world of numbers and bottom lines and earnings and bait disguised as free products.. While full of good people, they must like myself, wield the hammer of law on an anvil of hard cold ungrace.
Not so much an indictment as a statement of fact.
The Kingdom of God is a shot across the bow of our hearts. Hearts that list toward toward ungrace. Hearts too comfortable with the world of ungrace. Preferring it. The church becomes a marketplace of trade because our souls are mired in the marketplace’s ideals.
And then there’s the Kingdom of God, where the poor in spirit have reason to be happy. It’s a different economy altogether, where the laws of supply and demand are turned on their head. Every capitalist must check it at the Kingdom’s door.
Needing grace with nothing to offer is the position of the Kingdom. The King offers it freely. The one thing the world values above all other things is lack of need. Having something to offer gets the attention of bankers and merchants. And everyone else.
The King knows our need better than we do, sees it for all it is. And then with lovingkindness provides all and then some.