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BUILT BY GRACE


Years ago, late on a stormy night in Philadelphia, an elderly couple walked wearily into a hotel. They approached the night clerk at the desk and practically begged him for a room. Apparently there were three conventions in town, and every hotel was filled to capacity. "Are there any rooms left anywhere?" the old man inquired.


"I’m sorry. All of our rooms are taken," the clerk said. "But I can’t send a nice couple like you out into the street and in the rain at one o’clock in the morning. Would you perhaps be willing to sleep in my room? It may not be what you’re used to, but it will be good enough to make you folks comfortable for the night."


When the couple declined, the young man pressed it. "Don’t worry about me; I’ll be just fine,” the clerk said. “Just take my room.” So the couple agreed.


As he paid his bill the next morning, the older man said to the clerk, "You know what? You are the kind of man who should be the boss of the best hotel in the United States. Maybe someday I’ll build one for you."

The clerk didn’t think much about that, and two years passed.


The clerk had almost forgotten the incident when he received a letter from the old man. It recalled that stormy night and enclosed a round-trip ticket to New York, asking the young man to pay them a visit.


The old man met him in New York, and led him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. He then pointed to a great new building there, a palace of reddish stone, with turrets and watchtowers thrusting up to the sky.


"That," said the older man, "is the hotel I have just built for you to manage."

"You must be joking," the young man said.

"I can assure you that I am not," said the older man, a sly smile playing around his mouth. The old man’s name was William Waldorf Astor, and the magnificent structure was the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.


You see, when we give without worrying about being repaid, we can’t foresee the rewards of our kindnesses. But Jesus guarantees they will be repaid in countless blessings at the resurrection of the righteous — at the end of the world, when he comes to take his faithful people home with him to heaven.

Because that’s where the way of grace leads us: heaven.


SOURCE: Pastor Jeff Samelson in "The Way of Grace Is Clearly Different" on www.sermoncentral.com.

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