A friend of mine has had a really tough week. Her husband cut his thumb open, requiring a trip to the E.R., she sprained her ankle falling on the ice, her husband’s grandmother passed away, her kids had two snow days which she had to juggle around her own college coursework, and her younger daughter spiked a temperature, requiring, you guessed it, another trip to the E.R.
I heard about her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week after it was all over. So I decided to take her a bouquet of flowers. Our town has a wonderful florist. I take a vase to her and ask, “Can you fill this vase with $10 worth of flowers?” and she does it and makes it look spectacular.
Now before you think I’m bragging about my good deed, let me tell you the rest of the story. I made the mistake of telling someone what I had done and the person said, “What a wonderful thing to do!” As perspective set in, I blurted, “Oh, that’s nothing!”
It’s true. As nice of a gesture as it might appear, it’s a drop in the proverbial kindness bucket.
I think of the family who donated over $2000 toward needed tree removal on our church property. I think of the nearly minimum wage nursing home worker who coordinates her vacation time to coincide with church events so she can be available to help. There’s those awesome teenage girls who donate up to a foot length of hair to Locks of Love, so cancer patients can have the dignity of natural hair wigs. I think of the story I told in my last blog of the junior high boy who was willing to forfeit his win/loss record so a wrestler who had cerebral palsy could experience the thrill of victory.
Even these deeds of kindness pale in comparison to a church member’s son who donated a kidney so dad could get off dialysis.
That’s truly wonderful.
And yet – as sacrificial as that is – compare that to what Jesus did for us. This young man did it for someone he knew and loved. Jesus sacrificed for aliens and sinners (Romans 5:8). He gave a kidney. Jesus gave his life. He did it for one person. Jesus did it for many.
Now that’s the definition of wonderful.
It amazes me that people react so strongly to a gift of a bouquet of flowers. Is it because gifts of grace are so few and far between? Or maybe we forget to look and remember the acts of kindness and mercy that surround us every day? Perhaps it’s because I don’t stop to realize just how, well, how wonderful, God’s gift of salvation is. If I did, perhaps I would realize that I’m not giving up that much when I extend myself to others and so I would do it more often. It’s all a matter of perspective.
My gift of flowers was nothing in comparison to what Christ did for me. Yet God still chose to bless us. At the end of our day, my husband and I realized we had recouped that ten dollars and more. An anonymous donor paid for our dinner at our Christian School fundraiser. Another couple picked up the bill for coffee at a restaurant.
Oh my Lord, Jesus. My gift of flowers doesn’t even come close to any kind of sacrifice. I won’t even miss that ten dollars, and the flowers will fade in a week. Yet you gave it back to me; my cup is pressed down and running over.
I don’t deserve it.
Even when You gave up Your life for me, it was way more than I deserved.
That’s because – it’s grace. And grace is wonderful.