When I first got onto Twitter a few months ago I met a wonderful man of God, Patrick Badstibner, founder of World Prayr (on Twitter). At the time, World Prayr was mostly forwarding prayer requests via Twitter, so of course I followed and soon we became more acquainted and I got involved with World Prayr as well.
I’m pleased to be able to present this blog post, the first in a series of monthly posts by Pat, to our Energion Publications family. We will be presenting a number of other guest posts over the next few months, so keep your eyes open, subscribe to our RSS feed, or come back frequently.
And check the World Prayr organization and the World Prayr devotional blog as well. You’ll find a dynamic and growing group of Christians who are practicing the second great command, to love their neighbors as themselves, and thereby practicing the first command as well.
In the early 80’s this commercial ran…
However, milk, does it really do a body well all of the time? Does it really? What about too much milk; can it harm a body? Scripture says a false balance is an abomination of the Word.
What about grace? Does it do a body good? Is it possible to get too much grace? Too much grace; are you nuts?!
Yes, that’s right! I said too much grace.
Can too much grace can also lead to an imbalance? Was this what Dietrich Bonhoeffer was referring to as “cheap grace.”
Paul spoke of this when he said “Should we continue in sin, heaven forbid?”
Thank God for grace!
Without it, there would be no body. None of us here serving would be serving. There would be no need for it. We would be hopeless; in deep need of the grace God so freely gives. However, does that mean that grace excuses irresponsibility, lack of accountability, lack of following-up, lack of honoring commitments that we are all guilty of? No, see that was what Paul referred to as “Shall we continue on in sin?”
Have to admit, I absolutely love it when I see some of the responses to emails we sent out. It cracks me up when some respond “We should show more grace.” Got to admit whenever I share these reactions with the senior team; they also get good laughs.
Some remind me of when my kids used to not want to clean their rooms or do their chores. What usually would happen was their mom would pick up the slack, or one of them would say “It’s not fair that they do not have to clean their room.”
In their case, it would have been like saying “It’s okay that your brother/sister is not doing their part, but you understand grace, right? Well, we need you to clean their room for them as well.”
Those of you with kids right now are going “Yeah! Right!”
However, basically the ones that say this leave me wondering if they could be found telling their kids exactly that.
Now, does grace mean God’s leaders and managers should not expect, demand, require high standards of delivery or performance? Well let’s look…
Think on these things
Bear these fruits (Love how the message reads in this.)
Pray without ceasing
Rejoice in all things
How about this one:
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (The Message)
16-18Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
Now, I do not know about you but that is some pretty high standard! I know I have not met them in 40 years of being saved.
How does God feel about the things he asks to get done. What about details does God require exacting standards in building and doing things. What does it mean exactly to serve as though one is serving Christ. To do all things as unto the Lord.
Well we all know the story of the ark right and the exacting details God gave to Noah right. Have you read Exodus 36-38?
Thank God for grace because it is the grace that allows me to move on. That is where grace comes in.
Does that mean when others fail we should not tell them because grace covers it? Or we as leaders should pull them aside one on one.
Though one on one is always best; is there ever a time when public attacks are proper?
Hmmm, don’t look now but here are some passages and it may surprise you how some handled others failures; under their leadership.
This so surprised the disciples they wrote about it in two different places.
Hey! I believe this is copy writing.
Mark 9: 14 – 19
Luke 9: 37 – 41
Did he really call them idiots in a public area?
I think Mark and Luke and probably the rest of the disciples were asking themselves the same thing. Of course those reading the books and applying leadership 101 theories would find some way to excuse this or overlook it. For if a leader today did this and by some of the replies leaders in World Prayr have gotten; WOW!!! This is probably how this should have gone.
Well, let me see if I can help the boy; my disciples are kinda of new; they are in training right now. Then later when he got the disciples alone; here are some encouraging words for you and maybe next time try it this way. Then he would really have been showing grace would he not have?
Sheesh, Jesus showed them some grace; after all they have only been doing this thing for a couple of years now.
In a manner of speaking what Christ did was actually “do I have to do everything around here; can’t you guys get anything right?” We all have had managers like that, right?
Wow! Look at this one.
35Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren’t alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch.
36After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let’s see how they’re doing.”
37-41Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn’t have him; he wasn’t about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia. Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations.
Hit the road Jack and well John Mark at least “I ain’t got no use for you” Did he just call him a quitter; WOW!!!! I thought only ruthless; not grace oriented leaders did those things. Did God allow that to be put in there; what useful purpose does this serve?
Hey what happened to grace?
How about this one in the smallest book of the bible?
Philemon 10-14While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus! He was useless to you before; ( Wait this means at sometime Paul and Philemon had a dsicussion on the usefulness of Onesimus. It probably was not a very good reflecting conversation on him at that. LOL!!!) now he’s useful to both of us.
Isn’t that what they call slander when you tell someone else “hey this clown is no good to me?”
So does that mean we should go around as leaders attacking others?
We then are guilty of forgetting grace ourselves and may not be able to find it when we need it.. What it does mean is a couple of things:
1) There may just be a time when one needs to address things publicly.
2) Grace does not allow for excusing laziness, lack of integrity in commitment or lack of responsibility.
3) We need to be challenging, admonishing, encouraging, inspiring, and expecting from those God has put in our leadership.
So what does grace mean to the believer?
One thing we as believers need to be careful we do not get carried away with concentrating on one truth; while forgetting the rest of God’s word. This in and of itself is an imbalance; which leads to misunderstandings, improper interpretation, and improper application of God’s Word.
Well let’s look at what the law said.
You are going to blow it; you will mess up and when you do I will be here pointing the finger.
Grace says you can do it, you will do it but when you do blow it I will be here to help you pick up the pieces and we will move on together.
Grace says you blew it but I love you anyway.
Grace says that’s not acceptable but I’ll be there when you are ready to move on.
Grace says no, it’s not ok but in Christ we are.
Grace says you are a meat head but then so am I.
Grace never says it’s ok to act, do or say whatever, however or in what ever you choose. Yes, grace does a body good.
When served straight up and not through a straw siphoning or covering up poor performance, attitude or thinking.
However in the end we need always remember that the tremendous gift God has given us means that…..
Grace does a body good!
(Crossposted from the Energion Publications company blog)