The story is told of a judge presiding at a court in the poorest section of the city. It was a bitterly cold night during the hardest years of the Great Depression. A haggard, shabbily dressed old woman was brought before him. Charged with having stolen a loaf of bread, she made no attempt to deny the charges. Her daughter’s husband had abandoned the family, she said. Her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. However, the victimized shopkeeper refused to drop the charges. He felt he needed to set an example for a bad neighborhood.
The judge let out a deep sigh. Looking at the woman, he told her the law left him no alternative. She was guilty, and the penalty was ten dollars (an obviously impossible amount for the woman) or ten days in jail. But, as he pronounced her sentence, he pulled out a ten-dollar bill and gave it to the bailiff to pay her fine. Then, with a bang of his gavel, he declared that he was fining everyone in the courtroom fifty cents for living in a city where a poor woman had to steal bread to feed her starving family. Within minutes, the overwhelmed woman left the courtroom carrying $47.50 – collected from petty criminals, traffic violators, on duty police officers, and even the irate grocer!
What a delightful story of Grace. This poor woman escaped a penalty she legally deserved and received an unexpected blessing she didn’t deserve. Yet, God’s grace towards us is even more significant. As totally undeserving sinners who have broken God’s laws on numerous occasions there is no way we could ever justify ourselves before a Holy God. God sent His Son, who was without sin, to pay our debt. The Bible says it simply: “you know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” (II Corinthians 8:9 NLT)
Have you experienced this Amazing Grace? You can’t earn it. You can’t buy it. There is nothing you can do to ever deserve it. All you can do is accept it.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin!
Have a great week!
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Tuesday Morning on the Run
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Barry Lawson