Kristi (my wife) and I were at Disneyland a few months ago and noticed a few kids that caught my attention. The first was a child who was very upset, not because he was worn out from a day of fun or had been hurt, but he was angry. I would say really mad because his mom would not buy him a churro! His mom, in a very sweet and un-exasperated, calm tone, told the little guy that they were on their way to each lunch and they could get a churro later. The kid shot back, “I don’t want to wait, I WANT IT NOW!!!” And started to cry and thrash about folding his arms in a full pout saying, “I hate Disneyland. This place in no fun.” The very patient mom, rubbing his back said, “Now Sweetie I know you don’t mean that, mom and dad sacrificed a lot for us to come here and you have had a lot fun this morning riding rides, visiting Mickey, and being here as a family.” The kid brushed his mom’s hand away and muttered with clenched teeth, “I – Want – A – Churro – NOW!
I thought ‘wow’ and, though I wanted to stay and watch what happened, the crowd moved me on. However, I did notice another young family with a little boy about the same age as the churro-kid, and that boy, with smile from ear to ear came running up to his mom, just after the Dumbo ride, hugged her with a big squeeze saying, “Thank you mommy, thank you,” then, threw his arms back doing his best Julie Andrews, Sound of Music, top of the mountain twirl, yelled out, “I LOVE DISNEYLAND,” then grabbing his mom’s hand, looked up at her and said, “This is the best present and the best day of my life, thank you.”
What a contrast! One kid feeling entitled, deserving of whatever he wanted; the other thankful to receive an undeserved gift. Yet, both were in the same place, open to as much fun and joy and wonder as they wanted. One was soaking it all in and experienced the grace of his parents. The other was so stuck in his own self-focus that he was missing out on all that was around him.
As these scenes rattled around in my thoughts, the Lord brought to my mind an interesting side of the grace God has given us. Now the grace of God is the undeserved merit of salvation, belonging, and connection to Him, along with heaven and all the blessing of our gracious Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9-10 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
All this and more is true when we come to faith in Jesus (by way if you are not sure of your faith in Jesus, write me back and we can chat). Once we believe Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit to grow and transform us.
Titus 3:4-6 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Here is where the interesting part of grace comes out, we can’t experience all this if we are self-focused, feeling entitled, thinking we deserve all we want. Now, we may say well I don’t feel like that little ungrateful kid, but when we think that because of our good living, going to church, giving a few bucks, serving in the church, or being nice and kind to others, that we deserve what we desire or not this or that problem, or deserve anything, yes I said anything…we are like that churro-kid.
See, it’s when we understand our own depravity, our true sinful nature, the truth that we are owed nothing; not ease, nor life problem free, nor even happiness or health, when we grasp our sorry sinful self we get and appreciate grace. The Apostle Paul got it and in Romans 7:24 as he confesses ‘Wretched man that I am.’ Not only Paul but King David calls himself an undeserving ‘worm’ in Psalm 22:6. The more we understand the plight of our sin-condition (Romans 3:23), our wretchedness, the misery sin has put us in, the greater we understand grace. God has offered us more than we deserve, beyond our wildest dreams.
I think sometimes I can get like that churro-kid, but I want to be more like that kid who realized he did not earn or deserve this gift of a day at Disneyland. Who are you being more like today?
Seeking to be less entitled and more grateful to God with you,
PS Cypress Church and our Branch churches are talking about the grace and love we experience in our Lord Jesus this week. We would love for you to join us or listen to our sermons online. Check out our website for more information: www.cypresschurch.net