“I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
–John 10:10 (MSG)
There is an old, old story in England…
…about a poor woman, who on a sharp winter’s day stood at the window of a king’s conservatory looking at a beautiful cluster of grapes. She desperately longed to have those grapes for her sick and hungry child, so she came up with a plan. She went home to her spinning-wheel, and worked up some beautiful skeins of yarn, earning her half-a crown. Taking the money she offered it to the gardener, begging him for the grapes. But he curtly waved his hand at her and ordered her away.
The poor mother returned to her cottage, and snatched the blanket from her bed, pawned it, and once more came and asked the gardener, on her knees, to sell her the grapes she had seen in the window. Feeling even more desperate, she offered him the combined total of what she had earned and pawned. But the gardener again spoke furiously to her. As he was turning her and pushing her out, the princess came in; hearing the man’s passion and seeing the woman’s tears, she asked what was wrong.
When the story was told the princess she said, “My dear woman, you have made a mistake. My father is not a merchant, but a king; his business is not to sell, but to give;” So saying, she plucked the cluster from the vine and dropped it into the woman’s apron.
Are you that poor woman? I was.
Do you come to God, begging and begging for forgiveness, promising Him time, and time again, that you will do better and work harder; but then fail, and with your failure realize that it was all in vain. Ever think that with just a little more information you could just do it? And then find yourself failing in every aspect of your life… spouse, job, and God?
Ever came to the point where you know that you can never make it?
But what I could not buy with the Law, the Sabbath, or anything else; what I could not buy with my works, what I could not buy with moral rectitude (which, looking back, was miserable at best in God’s sight!), or my books (too many books!), God simply gave me. Why? Because God is not a merchant, but a king. What does the Great King of the universe do? He picks up the grapes of grace and simply hands them to me; that is what he does; and that is what he did for me. He handed me grace; His grace.
And the King will do it for you.
Oh yes, I did try to make him a merchant again! And again. And again. And again. I had a lot of things to unlearn (and still have!). But our King refuses to be a merchant! He won’t let us taste those grapes of grace; no, not one single grape until we give up our good works in trying to earn them. But when we stop trying to earn his grace and simply ask, motivated by the great, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, and by faith accept his divinely paid gift, paid out of his own life, our King, our God, gives us freely all of heaven, yes, that’s right, all of heaven!–for he is all that and more.
“I have come,” Jesus said, “that you can have real and eternal life, and a more and better life than you ever dreamed of.” You can have it. It can be yours. Simply, let go, let go of yourself, and accept it. Now, may the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.