Search This Blog

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Live Like Someone in Need of Grace

Jesus tells a story of a man who owed a huge amount of money. He begs for mercy when his creditor comes collecting. He doesn't want to be thrown into debtors' prison. The creditor has mercy on him and cancels his debts.

This debt free man then confronts someone who owes him a little money. The man cannot pay and begs for mercy but, instead of forgiving the debt, he throws the man in debtors' prison.

Meanwhile, the original creditor discovers what has happened. He confronts this man who has shown no mercy and throws him into prison. His mercy was removed because he did not return the mercy to someone else.

The lesson is clear. We should give grace to others because of the grace we have received. This concept is foreign to many Christians.

I read a book recently which said that churches that grow get rid of their dead wood. (This is my interpretation.) The book claims that staff members who don't perform at a significant level should be fired. This was given coldly; as one who would take out the trash.

Not all people fit in all positions. Some will need to be asked to leave. Firing comes when people will not follow your orders or only follow your orders. The latter is just a game. You don't need an employee who has to be told everything he must do and blames you when he doesn't do something that is obvious.

Firing also comes in sinfulness. A church staff member is only effective because the congregation trusts that staff member. The ministry ends when trust is destroyed. Trust is destroyed when the minister is characterized by sin. Some sins are characterized more quickly than others. Unfaithfulness to his wife (or husband if it is a female staff member) and stealing are two sins which are characterized quickly. The minister needs to leave the ministry for a while to re-establish a trustful lifestyle before re-entering the ministry.

Sometimes people are trying and they still don't fit. They work hard and are still ineffective. They go to further training. They have good hearts and they try with all their might. They still can't get the job done. They are in the wrong place. They should be given the opportunity to leave. I always want to be found giving grace when dealing with such people.

I know of a church where one such person was on staff. He tried hard but was not successful. He was told to find another place of ministry. The church found out that he was asked to leave from his family. The church still asked him to leave but continued to pay his salary and benefits for many months. I thought the church gave him grace. That church is doing very well right now. It is and example in growth and ministry which other churches are trying to emulate. I believe the church gave grace and, therefore, receives grace.

I know of another church in a very similar situation. Word got out that a staff member was being asked to resign. They decided to cut the severance package in half when the truth got out. I don't think that this church will do well. I cannot see God giving them grace after they showed no grace. At least, that's the way I read the story that Jesus told.

I am constantly in need of grace. I must constantly be in need of giving grace. I do not understand the grace given to me if I do not give grace. I will not receive the grace for the things that I want to do if I do not give grace.

You would think that the church would be the first place to find grace. Unfortunately, it isn't always true.

My church gives grace. I want us to be known as a church that gives grace. I also give grace. I want to treat people like I would like to be treated. It's just that simple.

No comments: