Brownies and a Dime (or A Little Bit of Sin) by Beth Smith

Brownies Michelle Tsang via unsplash.comI love this story about “a little bit of sin.” Two teenagers wanted to see the latest movie, one their father was quite sure was inappropriate.

“There’s only a little bad language in it,” they pleaded. “There’s almost no violence, and, while they talk about sex, you never see any on screen.” The father was adamant. The teens were upset. Eyes were rolling. Grumbles were rumbling.

But this was a very creative dad who loved his children and wanted to make a point. He headed to the kitchen to bake a batch of brownies. The house was filled with the tantalizing aroma of the coming chocolate treat. The teens soon made their way to the kitchen, begging for brownies.

“Help yourself!” the father said, “But before you dig in, you should know that I added just a little bit of dog poop to the recipe. There’s not much. You won’t be able to see it. I’m pretty sure you won’t even taste it. It probably won’t hurt you a bit.  So go ahead. Have all you’d like.”[1]

They got the point. That’s the way sin is in our lives. It doesn’t matter how much or how little, it’s still there.

First John 1:10 says, “If we claim we have not sinned, we make him (God) out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” Fine! But how about those of us who have really messed up? Some of us have had this thought, “I’ve done so much wrong, really evil stuff. I know I’m beyond redemption, beyond forgiveness.” Not true! Those who are forgiven much love him all the more. None of us are beyond His forgiveness. We’re like the lost coin in the parable that Jesus told. Let me recount it for you.

Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and carefully search until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15: 8-10 NIV).

The lost coin in this scripture was a silver drachma. It was probably only about the size of a dime, but it was worth about a day’s wages. It was worth the search! And we’re worth the search. If we’re feeling lost, either eternally or temporarily, we can be sure that God desires to find us and to help us find him. He searches for us and joyfully receives us.

Next time you see a dime, let it remind you to cry out, “Here am I, Lord. You’ve found me.”

 

Photo by Michelle Tsang via unsplash.com

[1] http://www.snopes.com/glurge/brownies.asp , accessed 6/2/2015 reported that, “Our earliest sighting of this item comes from a August 2001 web site posting, and it has since appeared in at least one gook. However, even in its earliest incarnation the author was not identified, which makes it difficult to determine whether the story is a true account or a work of fiction.”  This author found it uncredited on several websites.

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Pop Quiz (Amazing Grace) by Beth Smith

grace cross pixabay 10 17Remember those rolls of candy called Lifesavers? Well, grace is, quite literally, our lifesaver. It’s sometimes explained by the acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. We’re saved for eternity by God’s grace, and we’re sustained here on earth every day by his grace.

Indulge me for a minute while I make sure you know the truth about grace. Here’s a little pop quiz. I’ll ask the questions. And if you’ve understood what the Bible says about grace, your answers will be, in this order, “no, no, never, noooo, not a chance, and no!”

  • Can you buy it?
  • Can you inherit it from your mom and dad?
  • Can you get it because you are talented or smart?
  • Can you do enough good works … get enough gold stars … to erase the black marks on your record of life?
  • Can you earn it?
  • When you get it, can you brag about it?

We’ve settled the fact that grace is God’s gift and our eternal lifesaver. But what about right now? How do we live “by grace” until we die and go to our eternal life? As believers in Christ, we are already able to rely on God’s grace every day. His power far exceeds our own resources. In fact, lucky for us, his power shows up best in weak people who submit themselves to his grace.

Now, sometimes truth and feelings collide, but truth is truth and feelings are feelings. Never does the second change the first. We may say, “I don’t feel that God loves me or cares for me.” That does not change the truth that he does indeed love you and care for you. Truth never ceases to exist just because we choose to ignore it. We may ignore the fact that we are saved by God’s grace. But that doesn’t change the truth of it.

Now you have the facts about God’s grace. It is amazing. That’s the word that John Newton used to describe grace in the hymn he wrote, Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now I’m found;

Was blind, but now I see.

We are indeed amazed by grace. We all thirst for it, and Christ offers it to us now and for all eternity.