By Rev. Ben Black
The story has been told of the young New England businessman on his first business trip into the Deep South.
He had been driving his beat up blue Chevy through the back hills of Tennessee all night long and finally stopped for an early morning breakfast at the first inviting greasy spoon that was open. He sauntered into the diner and slid into a nearby booth. He ordered a cup of black coffee, two fried eggs, three sausage links and several slices of unbuttered toast.
In what seemed like no time at all the perky waitress was back with his order ... almost. As the Northerner took inventory of the contents on the warm plate, he noticed something peculiar. There, in between the sausage and the eggs, was a white mess setting on the corner of the plate, that could best be described as a "blob."
Confused about the mix up, the man waved the waitress back over to his table.
"Ma'am, I think there has been some confusion. What is this?," he questioned as he pointed to the white pile with the prongs of his fork.
The woman nonchalantly replied in her deep southern drawl, "Them there be your grits."
Still confused as to what they were doing on his plate the man spoke up, "But I didn't order any grits and I'm not looking to pay for something I didn't order!"
"Sir, I don't know where you're from, but down here you don't order grits," she answered flashing him a proud smile. "Around these parts, they just come!"
Grace from God is the same way. We don't have to order it. It just comes. We don't have to ask or pay for it. It is there. A free gift. Unfortunately, it's easy to forget why grace is important.
Grace is freedom. Grace is relief from regret and a fix for every mistake. It is by God's promised Grace that we persevere through life's most devastating seasons. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome by Grace.
However, at least for me, I find myself staring down at the plate in front of me and am petrified by what I see staring back. But, that should not be the case because on every plate (regardless of what our past may have ordered for us to choke down) there is a sloppy pile of Grace sitting there, promising to get us through. You do not have a mistake, regret, worry, or secret in your life that is too big to separate you from the Grace of God. That is truth. Grace is peace.
Do you need a fresh start? Know that everything you need to begin again is already sitting in front of you. That is the joy of God: you don't have to pay for Grace, it just comes!
"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love." - 2nd John 1:3
The Rev. Ben Black is pastor of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church.