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September 29, 2017

Day 16 – Grace

It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand God’s grace. I was familiar with the concept of grace, as I had heard about it as a child growing up in church. The term was mostly used to describe the gift that was given to us through the death of Jesus Christ that allowed us redemption for our sins and put us under a new law. As with several “bible concepts” I didn’t fully understand how it applied to my personal life, let alone my business. Grace is given to us freely and isn’t something we can earn or buy. It is the exact opposite of karma – you don’t get it because you deserve it.

Matthew 20:1-16 is a well-known parable about God’s grace. Jesus makes a comparison of the Kingdom of Heaven to a landowner who goes out early looking to hire workers for his vineyard. He decides that we will pay each worker the normal daily wage and would send them out to work. At nine o’clock in the morning, the landowner passed through the marketplace and saw a group of people standing around doing nothing. He hires them and tells them he would pay them a daily wage at the end of the day. They all agreed and left to work the vineyard. The man found another group of people doing nothing and hired them to work his vineyard at booth noon and three o’clock. At five o’clock the landowner returned to the vineyard and saw more people standing around, and he asked them why they were not working. They replied that no one had hired them. The landowner asked them to go and join the others that were working in his vineyard.

Later that evening he told his foreman to call all of his workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. Those that were hired at five  o’clock were paid a full day’s wage. When those that were hired first came to collect their payment, they assumed that they would be paid more, but were paid a full day’s wage just like the others. They protested their wage saying that it was unfair that the people who only worked one hour were paid just as much as them, because they were working in the hot scorching heat all day. The landowner reminded them that they agreed to work for a full day’s wage and that he could do whatever he pleased with his money. He decided to pay everyone the same and commanded them to take their payment and to leave. He asked them if it was against the law and if they were jealous that he was kind to everyone. The story concludes with the verse “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last. By now you have probably realized that money in this story is symbolic for God’s grace.

How many of us can identify with that story? I couldn’t understand why others in business “who just started” were doing “better” than me. I mean I have paid my dues, I have burned the midnight oil, I was committed to the process. But it appeared as though others “just popped up on the scene” and were further along than me, it just wasn’t fair. This produced bitterness and then jealousy for how God blessed others, and I started to believe that God had forgotten about me. I was soon reminded that God never directed me to work as hard as I did. I was working and hustling and grinding trying to make my own way when I never asked God exactly what and how I should be working. For when you are doing the work of God his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. [ Matthew 11:30] I was working outside of God’s grace and was feeling burned out, frustrated and rejected – this was not the will of God.

I was also reminded of the grace that God had extended me over and over in my business – the fact that my co-founders and I were able launch Myavana without spending any of our own money, and how we were able to sufficiently fund our company having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Every single time God needed us to accomplish a task, there was an amount of unique favor and grace that accompanied it. And lastly, I was reminded that we all have different journeys and that I could not compare myself to others and how God graced others to do what he called them to accomplish. I needed to celebrate them instead of becoming envious of how God chose to bless them. Grace is not just for me when I need it, but God gives it freely to everyone who needs it.

When God is in it, grace will be attached to it. You can’t earn it; you can’t purchase it, you can’t take it from someone else. If you are overworked, tired, and have yet to yield results, it’s time to move out of your own way, and ask for God’s grace to carry you through.

Father God, I thank you for sending your son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins so that gift of grace may rest freely on me. For your grace is all that I need and your power is made perfect in my weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9]

Lord, I approach your throne of grace with confidence  so that I may find mercy and grace to help me in my time of need [Hebrews 4:16]

I am grateful that sin is no longer my master, and that I am no longer under the law, but under your grace [6:14]

Father, I vow to use the gifts that you have given me to faithfully serve others as a good steward of the grace you have given me. [1 Peter 4:10]

I repent for trying to rely on my own strength and not relying on your grace to get me through. I also repent for feeling bitter or jealous for how you decided to grace others. I will be grateful for the grace that you have given me. For grace has been extended to each one of us as through your son, Jesus. [Ephesians 4:7]

Lord, I ask that grace and peace be given to me in abundance for all things including my business, through the knowledge of you and your son Jesus Christ. [ 2 Peter 1:2]

Father, I thank you for giving me more grace daily as I remain humble, for you favor the humble and opposes the proud. [James 4:6]

In Jesus name, Amen

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