Summary: Grace and gratitude go hand-in-hand. When we live lives of grace to others, it best expresses our gratitude to God.
“GRATEFUL LIVING IS GRACIOUS LIVING”
I enjoy studying the backgrounds of words. I like seeing how we got certain words and how they relate to each other.
Take the word “grace.” It comes from the Latin word gratis. The Greek word translated as “grace” in our Bibles means “gift.” The Latin word gratis means “free or a gift.” When you look at how we use the derivatives of the words “grace” and gratis in our everyday language, you begin to get a deeper understanding of its meaning.
When we pray before we eat, we are saying grace. We’re acknowledging that our food is a gift from God. When someone does something kind, we’re grateful. When we hear good news, we’re gratified. When we’re successful, we are congratulated. When someone invites us to their house, we say that they’re gracious. At a restaurant, we show our gratitude to a server by the size of the gratuity we give.
Composers can add grace notes to their music. These notes aren’t essential to the melody – they’re gratuitous. They add an amount of ornamentation to the score. Grace notes season the music like flavorful spices do a soup.
The British capture the theological meaning of the word “grace.” They address royalty as, “Your grace.” Students at Oxford and Cambridge may “receive a grace” which releases them from certain academic requirements. Parliament declares an “act of grace” to pardon a criminal.
Magazine and newspaper publishers also mirror the biblical meaning with their policy of gracing. When your subscription reaches its end, they may send a few extra issues even when the account has reached zero. They refer to these extra issues as “grace issues” – sent free of charge (or, gratis) to entice the former subscriber to re-subscribe.
We also learn a lot about a word from its opposite meaning. Reporters have referred to the demise of celebrities, politicians, and religious leaders suffering “a fall from grace.” When someone shows a lack of grace we call them an “ingrate.” If the lack of grace is severe, we might call them a “disgrace.” Someone who is contemptible could be said to have no “saving grace.” A person who commits an act of treason or treachery can be declared persona non grata – “person without grace.”
We’re in this series of messages called Amazing! We’ve been learning about grace. Here’s a summary of what we’ve learned so far.
God offers us grace. We need grace because we don’t deserve nor can we earn God’s favor. Salvation is a free gift from God. It doesn’t start with us. It all starts with him. He reaches out to us because he cares for us. We should be encouraged when we accept his offer of grace.
When we accept God’s offer of grace, the work of grace begins to change our lives. We begin a lifelong journey wherein we become more and more like Jesus. This work of grace brings healing to our hurts. We are then called to live according to grace – toward God and to others.
The problem is that many of us live as a persona non grata – a person without grace. Because we have received God’s grace, we should then extend it to others. We show our gratitude for God’s grace by being gracious to others.
Grateful living is gracious living. The greatest expression of gratitude is to live as a person who has received God’s grace and then extends it to others. The easy part is receiving God’s grace. The difficult part is extending grace to others.
How do we do that? How do we live our lives so that they are an extension of God’s grace to others? We’re going to look at some of the dos and don’ts of gracious living.
Eph. 4:25-5:2 – Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.