When I was about 16 years old I spent a summer holiday working for a retired bank manager who lived in a large property in the Peak District. It was a lot of hard work but fun at the same time. However there was a moment each day which I will never forget. Each of these moments started with the click of the main gate to the property. You see my boss had a small but fierce terrier that could often be spotted patrolling the raised porch area outside the house. As soon as the small but fierce guard dog heard that click of the gate, he was off, down the steps, along the path and leaping in the air at the unsuspecting victim! Many a time a new postman would make a sharp retreat behind the safety of the gate and then call out in a sheepish voice if I would come and collect the post.
In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians we see the Apostle Paul’s terrier-like attitude to seeking out and then sinking his spiritual teeth into evidence of the grace of God. Listen to what he says:
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus…” (1 Cor 1:4, ESV)
The first letter to the church in Corinth is a letter of correction and dealing with some significant issues such as schisms and disunity, sexual immorality, law suits between members, abuse of the Lord’s Supper and misuse of spiritual gifts. All in all a pretty rum bunch! Yet, notice the Apostle Paul’s ability, like a terrier not to be distracted by these issues, but to hone in on God’s work and the evidences of grace and to sink his spiritual teeth into them!
What about you and me? Are we too quick to jump to identifying and vocalising the issues, or have we learnt to step back and see the grace of God at work in yourself, other people, your midweek discipleship group and the church family as a whole? Grace is the lavish undeserved activity of God in our lives and the apostle Paul could see evidences of this all over the church in Corinth. That’s why he could say “I give thanks to my God always for you…”
This week, can I encourage you each morning to step back and take a moment to thank God for the lavish, undeserved activity of God in the church. Be specific! Thank him for people and situations. I promise you that as you do this you will feel the wash back effect of grace in your own heart!
Let’s be a church of grace terriers who leap off the porch, shoot down the steps and along the path and sink our teeth in any and every evidence of grace that we can spot!