Grace Comes Quietly

I can’t remember when I’ve been more frustrated.

I like things to be done in a logical manner.  When rules are followed, all is right with the world.

Or, is it?

My morning—as truth be told, have many other mornings over the last couple of months—was spent in dealing with one single company.  The company promises to make life easier for me as the owner of a website.

The frustrating thing is, they aren’t.  Making life easier for me, that is.

From the beginning, the hoops have been held in front of me and I have dutifully jumped through them.  I like order and calm, you see.  My assumption, when this journey started, was that by jumping through the hoops, I would achieve the goal.  

Rules followed?  Goal achieved.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

The only thing jumping through the hoops has achieved in my case is the presentation of more hoops. Today, I would jump through what I believe to be the last hoop.  

Well, really, the last hoops. 

Muttering the entire time, I collected all the information the company required, and driving the well-traveled road to my bank, found a helpful young lady who was in possession of a legal stamp which proclaimed her to be a notary public.

I sat at her desk, proffering document after document to prove to the company that I am who I say I am.  She dutifully stamped the copies and, watching me sign the final affidavit required, asked me if I was sure I was done. 

I want to be done.  I wish this were the end of this particular journey.

I’m not convinced it is.  There will be more hoops to be jumped through—more rules with which to comply.

There always are.

While sitting at the nice young lady’s desk, I needed to separate a couple of pages of a document which were held together with a tiny staple.  I pulled it out with my fingernail.  She quietly mentioned that she had a staple remover, but I persisted in my quest without her help.

The tiny staple sat on her desk for a few seconds, only to find its way into my hand as I waited for her to make copies.  I bent it back into the shape it had been in the paper.  Then I bent it in half from that.  Fidgeting still, I bent it again.

By the time my visit to the bank was completed, the staple was just a dot of crumpled metal in my hands.  I would have thrown it away, but the trash can was behind the nice lady’s desk.  I didn’t reach past her to toss it in.

I carried the tiny thing out with me.  I could toss it into the dirt under a tree outside.

I didn’t.

Good people don’t throw trash on the ground.  I would toss it into the tray in my pickup.

I didn’t.

The same thought came to me as I considered the deed.  Someone would have to pick that up.

All the way home I held the tiny piece of metal between my fingers, its sharp ends and bent edges uncomfortable on my skin.  Not until I walked through my door and into the kitchen, did I release the minuscule dot from my hand into the trash can under the sink.

Even then, I wondered if it could have been put in the recycle bin.

I hear the words now.  

What a strange thing to write about!

What a stupid thing to do! 

What a ridiculous amount of energy wasted for nothing!

Nothing!

Did I forget to tell about the lady who followed me out the door?  I did, didn’t I?

I walked out the door of the bank, carrying my final (or not) hoop to be jumped through in one hand and the pesky little staple in the other.  Focused on the little inconveniences of the day, I didn’t realize that a lady carrying her young child was close behind me.

Yep.  I let the door close right in her face.  

And the Teacher said to the religious leaders gathered there, calling them blind guides: You strain the gnats out of your drink, and satisfied with the result, swallow a camel instead. (Matthew 23:24)

I left the lady and her child to deal with the door on their own.  I had more important things on my mind. 

I carried my little staple all the way home.  All the way.

Later this afternoon, as I sat at a traffic signal, I felt that old familiar surge of pride as I watched the driver of the car ahead toss the still-smoking filter end of a cigarette out on the pavement.

I’m better than that one!

No.  I’m not.

I’m not.

If I could (which I can’t) follow the law in every facet, save one—if I only mess up one tiny rule—I have still broken the law.  (James 2:10)

Two things I know about the law.  Two things.

One, it is not possible for me to jump through every hoop without getting something wrong.

Two,  pride and comparisons are always—without fail—the result of my little successes in keeping the rules.  When I succeed, I think I am better than those who fall short in the same attempt.

Did I say there were two things I knew?  I should have said there were three.  The third is the most important.

Grace trumps law.  Every time.

The nice lady at the bank offered me grace today.  Quietly she said the words.

I have a staple remover.

Such a simple offer.

I just needed to give up my claim to the tiny metal staple.

Grace comes quietly.

Quietly.

Grace comes quietly. Quietly. And, it waits for us to respond. Click To Tweet 

It waits for us to respond.

I think I don’t want to carry around the little staples anymore.

I’m not all that good at hoops either. 

Grace waits.

For us, it waits.

                              

Grace puts its hand on the boasting mouth and shuts it once for all.
(Charles Haddon Spurgeon ~ English evangelist ~ 1834-1892)

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
(Romans 6:14 ~ NLT)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

6 thoughts on “Grace Comes Quietly

  1. Wonderful analogy of a life lived honestly in Christ! Thank you, Paul, for adding this post to your staple (pun intended.) I always appreciate what you have to say.

  2. Grace does come quietly, and if we are too preoccupied with ourselves/problems/rules/challenges, we can too often miss it altogether.
    Thanks, Paul, for your inspiring words today!

  3. Your metaphor of fixation on the staple also highlights that when we have our eyes on compliance over grace, we don’t notice the common courtesies and perhaps needs for grace of those along our way.

    Always thought provoking, Paul. Thanks!

  4. Thought provoking! When we focus on our miniscule problems, we can miss out on the chance to feel the joy of serving others

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