A Response to Grace

Richard Halverson said, “There’s an intimate correlation between the development of a person’s character and how he or she handles money.” 

Take Zaccheus, an old crook in the Bible.  

One day, Zaccheus heard Jesus was passing through, so he climbed a tree in order to see Jesus.  When people saw Zaccheus in the tree, they were sure Jesus would have harsh words for him.  They probably licked their chops as they saw Jesus stop, call Zaccheus down from the tree, and begin speaking to him.  Can’t you imagine it?  “That crook is finally going to get what he deserves!”  “Jesus will show him!”

Instead of condemning him, though, Jesus offered him the intimacy of table fellowship – a high honor in Middle Eastern culture.  Sharing a meal was a sign of friendship.  The biblical account does not mention Jesus criticizing Zaccheus.  Instead, Jesus dealt with him in gracious love. 

Zaccheus’ response tells it all: he’d never experienced unconditional love!  That moment Zaccheus felt valued and was taken seriously as a human being, he began to change.  He was overwhelmed by a moment of grace. 

He freely responded to God’s grace by getting his life back in order.  He began to live as a person of integrity.  He decided to pay back the people he’d cheated and he opened his eys, heart, and wallet to the poor.  Zaccheus’ spending and use of money was never the same again.

Whenever someone experiences grace and truly understands what it means to be loved, cherished, and forgiven by God, he or she becomes a new creation.  One’s spending of time and dollars begins to reflect the value system of Jesus Christ.  One’s entire life becomes a response to grace. 

We discover that the only reason for giving is gratitude.