Have you ever really thought about Grace?

Not the grace that we say before eating a meal, but the Grace God offers each and every one of us.

Last summer I bought a hot tub. I didn’t really have a full vision for my backyard, so I had a concrete slab poured for the hot tub along with a sidewalk from my covered patio to the hot tub.

Now that I have lived with it for a year, I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas on how to improve the design and function of the area. But, as a widow, this is just one more thing that makes me miss having my husband to bounce ideas off of (not to mention he usually could do the work, or knew where to find someone to do the work).

At this point, you may be wondering what my hot tub and patio have to do with grace, but stay with me…

Recently, the sermon series at church was about God’s grace. In the Methodist Church, we see grace as threefold: Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace.

Several weeks ago I mentioned to some friends at church that I wanted to expand my back patio. I was looking for recommendations for a trustworthy contractor to come bring my vision to life. Instead of a recommendation, one of them said he would come take a look and see what I had in mind. A couple of days later, we stood in my backyard and I described my vision to him (nothing fancy, just adding some pavers and stone to improve the flow and expand the living space with some outdoor seating). It turns out he really likes doing this kind of project and said he and a buddy could do it for me.

This week has been full of activity. My friend and a couple of other recruits came over and began the process to expand my patio.

As I watched them work in the hot sun, I wondered what I had done to deserve these friends in my life. (And, if you know me at all, you know how hard it is for me to ask for help, which is what this felt like). Which led me to think back on the sermon series about Grace…Especially Prevenient Grace.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, defined prevenient grace as God’s active presence in our lives, not dependent on human actions, but a gift that is always available.

I have done nothing to deserve God’s grace, His Prevenient Grace. It is a gift that is there always, and there is nothing that we can do to escape it. Even if we try to turn from it, it will be there when we are ready to finally accept it.

And so it was with my patio. I did not do anything to deserve these men and women coming over and spending a Sunday afternoon (and several evenings throughout the week) working on my patio. It was their way of expressing God’s love and showing me a living example of Grace.

God uses the people in our lives to show us, in terms we can understand, what Grace really is. It is not just something we say before a meal. If we are willing to look around, we see it is through everyday people doing things (for us or for others) that are completely undeserved.

I will never be able to thank these folks enough, nor will I ever be able to thank God enough for his Grace. The best I can offer is to live my life expressing the same kind of grace to people I meet every day (and maybe offering a nice steak dinner to those that worked on the new patio).

How have you experienced God’s grace? How have you been an example to someone else of God’s grace?