2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
In reading this verse the first thing that came to mind was something Paul wrote a little later in this same letter. Reporting God’s response to him when he asked for healing of a physical problem, he wrote, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Corinthians 12:9) That’s not the same image as “grace abounding” in this verse, but it’s just as real and it’s vital to understand. We have a huge problem with feeling entitled. We feel that if we do A and B, then God has to come up with C, and it doesn’t work that way. Just yesterday I read a horrible, extreme example of what entitlement can do. A man showed up at the house of his girlfriend (with whom he had a child) and demanded half of her “stimulus” money, which she had just received. She refused, saying that she was working to support their child and he was doing nothing. When her brother stepped up to support her, the man pulled out a gun and started shooting, killing four people, and then grabbed his infant daughter and left. When he was caught, he said she had “made him do it.” That’s where a sense of entitlement ultimately leads. He wasn’t entitled to anything, and he will be paying for his actions for a long time, at least, and possibly for eternity. We aren’t entitled to anything, but God likes to do good stuff for us anyway. What we need to do is seek Him so that we will position ourselves more and more in the flow of His grace. When we really understand it’s all grace, we will be grateful, and many studies have shown that gratitude is the most fundamental component of genuine happiness. The man I just wrote about has no gratitude whatsoever, and he is miserable to the nth degree, making others around him miserable in the process.
Once again I am grateful for the parents who raised me. As a case in point, at Christmas we weren’t told the presents came from Santa, but rather that each gift came from someone, who was to be thanked. We also prepared gifts for our parents and each other (even when it was actually our parents’ money that purchased them), and it was actually more exciting and enjoyable to see the others open what we had gotten for them than it was to receive gifts ourselves. When I was raised that way, our older daughter’s first words were “Thank you,” and we have some very cute tales as a result! She hasn’t had the easiest life, but right now she is a remarkably well-adjusted, and happy, person. When I start going over all the ways in which God has been gracious to me it can be overwhelming, because there is no end to it all. It’s not that everything in my life goes as I would like, any more than it was for Paul, However, God’s grace has certainly been sufficient on every level, and I am deeply grateful.
Father, You know more ways in which You have been gracious to me than I have even recognized. Help me walk in full gratitude and obedience, so that Your grace through me may draw many more to repentance and faith, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!