God’s Grace is for All! – Week of February 1, 2021
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 3: 1-3a, 5, 10
“You can’t play with us. Only girls wearing pink can use the dress-up right now.”
Does it ever take you by surprise when your sweet students show such unkindness to one another? Even when we’re little, our hearts love to set up dividing lines between “us” and “them.”
In our verses today, God had commanded Jonah to preach his Word in a city called Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian kingdom. The Assyrians were no friend of Jonah’s people. When God gave Jonah this directive, Jonah chose to run. Just after our verses above, we find the reason for Jonah’s avoidance: because he knew that God was a “gracious and compassionate God.” Jonah, God’s very own prophet, did not want to share God’s message with “them.”
We can find this attitude leaking into our lives, too. It can be difficult to share God’s forgiveness with the little boy who has tested our patience all morning long. Our hearts may think, “Does he really deserve this, again?” Or, while we may chat eagerly with one mom, taking the time to build a relationship, we quickly bustle out the mom who arrives a hot mess at 5:36, and we sidestep the dad who questioned us earlier in the week altogether.
Thank the Lord that he is so unlike each of us! Though the Ninevites had been bitter enemies of his people, God longed for them to turn to him. That kind of grace is unfathomable to our human logic! But doesn’t it also bring us such joy? Because, if God’s grace is truly for all, even those whom most regarded as outside God’s circle, then God’s grace is for us, too. When Jesus died on the cross, he gave his life for the sins of the little girls in the opening story and for the little boy who tried your patience today. He died for the moms and dads who make our work a joy, and the moms and dads who don’t do things quite as we’d like or who even confront us regularly. He died for the teacher who shared his grace today, and he died for the teacher who forgot, put self above the needs of another, or avoided the opportunity altogether. Jesus died for you! God’s undeserved love, his grace, is for you! What an awesome opportunity we have each day to share his grace with others!
Dear Jesus, thank you for your undeserved grace. As I look into the faces of those you have given me to serve, whether big or small, help me to see them with your eyes, as individuals you died for and dearly love. When I fail, remind me of your unwavering grace for me and give me renewed energy to try again. In your name I ask this, amen.
A Question to Consider: God’s grace, his undeserved love, binds us to each other. Think about the families in your care. How can you be a purposeful witness of God’s grace to both the easy and the more challenging families you serve?