Monday, October 27, 2014

Grace Needed in the Kitchen

In this post:  kids cleaning the kitchen, Parable of the Talents, saved by grace 

Imagine yourself as a parent…
You have assigned your child to clean the kitchen.  Either your child cleans the kitchen diligently; washing dishes, wiping counters, taking out the trash and mopping the floor or not.
Me making a pie in a clean-enough kitchen
Say you’ve got two children and one is diligent and one is not.  The one who is a bit lazier, washes most of the dishes but leaves the pots.  Say he wipes the counters but doesn’t fully clear them so the wiped part is irregular.  Say he takes out the trash but neglects to clean the floor.  When you ask him or her why, the excuse is that he is "not perfect."  

As a parent, you know that even your diligent child will not clean the kitchen perfectly.  You know they will miss wiping behind the faucet.  You know they won’t get the crumb under the toaster.  You know that they won’t clean the spill in the oven but you are pleased with their efforts and willing to do those things for them while they are learning.

However, your other child has excused himself or herself from doing an excellent job.  He assumes you will finish what was left undone.  Depending on age and ability, you may do so.  However, there comes a point when your child grows up and their ability clearly is equal to doing an excellent job.  Do you accept the excuse and allow them to remain weak or do you demonstrate the difficult skills and expect them to act responsibly?

When we talk about grace, we sometimes say, in essence, that there is no point to diligent works because God will make up the difference.  I wonder if God makes up the difference willingly for diligent children. However, when he sees a child choosing to remain weak, He must, by nature, expect them to grow into the difficult skills when their ability is clearly there.

Clearly neither child will be perfect.  Clearly grace will be given to both children.  It seems irrelevant to me if the child who is diligent expects to be rewarded for his efforts.  Only the parent can determine whether a reward is merited.  It seems irrelevant to me what reward the child thinks he or she will get.  It only matters what the child’s intention is toward the tasks assigned as to whether they are meeting expectations.  The parent decides what expectations are reasonable based on the ability of the child.  Maybe its unfair that there are expectations.  I can’t say what God expects of me only that I think he knows my ability.

So when we talk about being saved in God’s heavenly kingdom, it doesn’t matter what we expect to receive for our efforts here on Earth.  God will justly reward those who meet expectations.  I like the parable about the 10 talents when it comes to expectations.  The servant who was given 5 talents was rewarded for doubling his talents.  The same with the servant who was given 2 talents. The one with 1 talent who buried it did not meet expectations.  The diligent child may be striving for perfection but only God knows whether he doubled his talents.  The diligent child can fall short of expectations just as easily as his sibling.  It’s relative to expectations.  So why do we care so much about whether someone thinks they’ll be saved by grace or saved by works?  It doesn’t matter what we think.  It only matters what God thinks.

If you liked this post you might like: Grace or Welfare  If you did not like this post, that's ok with me.  I don't expect you to agree with all my beliefs but I encourage you to think about what specifically you didn't like and figure out why you didn't like it.

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