Thursday, February 7, 2013

A definition of grace

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light (sound familiar?), and the Lord appeared. He told the man that he had an important work to do. The Lord then showed him a large rock in front of his small cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all of his might. So, obediently, this man did….day after day! For many years he toiled from sunup to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving boulder, pushing with all of his energy. Each night the man returned to his cabin, exhausted, worn-out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain. Since the man was acting discouraged, the adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture, as he always does. He placed thoughts in the man’s mind such as, “You have been pushing against that rock for a long, long time and it hasn’t moved! You aren’t strong enough. It can’t be done.” He gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts disheartened the man. “Why am I killing myself over this?” he asked himself. “I’ll just put in my time giving just the minimal effort and that will be good enough.” And that is what he planned to do….until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord Himself. “Lord,” he said in desperation, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength into doing what you asked, and yet, after all of this time, I have not even moved that blasted rock by even a millimeter! What is wrong with me? Why am I failing?” The Lord responded compassionately, “Who told you that you were failing? My friend, when I asked you to serve me, and you accepted, I informed you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your heart, might, mind and strength, and you have done that! Never once did I mention that you were expected to move it! Your task, my son, was to push, and now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But is that really so? Look at yourself! Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are calloused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass those which you used to have…yet you haven’t moved the rock. But remember, your calling was to be obedient and to push and exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. Now I, my friend, I will move the rock.” (Author unknown)

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