A natural thing when you travel is to compare things with how they are at home. When dealing with foreign currency, for example, we often find ourselves converting it to our own money. Those from the US will likely find themselves converting the metric distances and temperatures to the imperial system when traveling in most of the rest of the world, while the rest of us, when traveling in the US, find ourselves converting everything back to metric. We compare foods, shopping experiences, driving, cultural practices, etc. And maybe we even find ourselves comparing the beaches…
Being from the Great Lakes region of Canada, pretty much the only constant between our beaches and those we found in Grenada is that both contain sand and water. One big difference–besides the obvious waves, tides, smell, salt content, temperature, etc–is that the law in Grenada sates that all beaches are public property. By comparison, it is possible to “own” a section of beach along the Great Lakes, making that patch of sand and water off-limits to the general public.
This particular difference definitely worked to our advantage in Grenada. Since we were staying in a modest little B&B about 20 minutes from the beach, and since most of the beachline in Grenada is bordered by resorts, had it not been for the law that beaches are always public property, our beach experience would have been limited indeed.
This all reminds me of grace.
God’s grace cannot be “private property”. It will never be posted with “no trespassing” signs. Rather, it is a free gift to all: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24 NIV); “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (Eph. 4:7 NIV)
During our 4-week stay in Grenada, we didn’t find ourselves at the beach every day. It was our choice to visit a beach about 3 days out of 7, but on the other days, it was our choice to see the oceans and hear the roar of the waves from afar.
God’s grace is the same. Hebrews 4:16 tells us: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (NIV). Thus, God’s grace is ours for the asking, poured out without measure from the love of God’s heart. It is not, however, forced upon us. It is our choice to walk in grace or not.
One day we discovered a new (to us!) beach on the map. It wasn’t far from the beach where we had been snorkeling, and because it looked more private than the one we were on, we set out to find it. This required a long and difficult uphill climb, and you can imagine our disappointment to learn that the entire beachfront of our beach destination was taken up by a private hotel. Although the beach itself wasn’t private, access to it was.
The guard at the entrance was very nice, however. He gave us permission to cross through private property to access the beach below. We felt special, and when we stepped foot on that lovely beach, we couldn’t help but feel privileged to be there. We swam and snorkeled on that beach for a couple of hours, but we were careful to not utilize the hotel-provided beach chairs and services, and when it was time to leave, we were careful to stick to the provided pathways that wound their way between the cottages. Once back at the entrance, we made sure to tell the guard how much we appreciated being able to cross through hotel property to use the beach.
Why? Because we knew that we had been granted a privilege that day, one that we highly appreciated. As a result, we respected the rules of the ones who allowed us to go there, we tried to not take advantage of the hotel’s generosity, and we didn’t overstay our welcome.
Even though God’s grace is available to everyone as a free gift, it is important that we recognize it as aprivilege, and not as our “due”. We should respect the giver, we should respect His rules and not take advantage of His generosity: “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” (2 Cor. 6:1 NIV) What I mean is that although God’s grace is an abundantly free gift, we should love and respect the God who gives it to us enough to not take the gift lightly. We should do everything within our power to avoid intentional sin, for this shows respect to God and to His abundant gift, and it shows our love and honour to the One who gave it all so that everyone might be covered by His grace.
There is no “private” grace in God’s Kingdom. We should, however, always be careful to respect the Giver of this wonderful gift and fully appreciate how privileged we are to be able to partake of it.
(P.S.If you want to know a beautiful little beach in Grenada; or more importantly, if you wish to experience God’s grace personally, pleaseemail me!)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.