To understand what it means to be a Methodist, we must understand this concept of grace. As we discussed last week, grace comes from the Greek word charis which means gift. Grace is God’s gifts to us. There are many and they impact us throughout our lifetime. God gives the gift of salvation and forgiveness. God gives the gift of mercy and the gift of purpose of life. God gives peace in the midst of our circumstances. And the list goes on and on.
But as with any gift, we must receive and open it before it can have any impact upon us. And that is the reason many of us leave God’s gifts unopened, unused, and they therefore have no effect. Flannery O’Connor puts her finger on one primary reason we “resist” God’s grace. It means we will be changed. And change is difficult and painful at times.
You see, we grow accustomed to our life the way it is. We are comfortable in it even though it may be chaotic, unproductive, and even destructive. Others may call it dysfunctional, but we call it normal. And we like it. Our life’s theme is “the devil we know is better than the one we don’t.” And so we resist, we put off, and we ignore God’s gift to us for the fear of change.
If that is you today, know that God is abundantly patient. God is always ready to give the gift you need. So it is not too late. Also know that there are plenty of people God has called and who have responded who are willing to help. They belong to a group called the church. And it is my sincere belief that it is within this community, wherever you may find it, that God’s grace abides in sufficient abundance to get us through whatever we face.