After 2 ½ days of being iced-in with small children, our family had to get out of the house. We went out to eat and then ventured to the grocery store with both kids, which was a first and probably a last.
When we finished shopping, it was freezing cold and still icy enough to be dangerous. I started the car and realized the fuel light was on! So, with a whiny 3-year-old and a screaming 11-month old, we stopped at the gas station to get gas.
When I pulled up to the pump, I noticed a woman talking to a man by another gas pump and then walk back to a fairly beat-up mini-van. As I started to pump our gas, the lady approached me. She said, “Sir, we’re almost out of gas but we don’t have any money. Do you have just a few dollars?”
This is not a bragging post about a good deed. I wish I had responded differently, but I didn’t. I looked at the woman and semi-politely said, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash.”
In my mind, I was running through a million different scenarios. Most of them revolved around the person not deserving my money or my help in this situation. And then the grace of God hit me like a ton of bricks.
Who am I to call someone else undeserving?
Even though I am undeserving of love, God chose to love me. Even though I deserved to be judged and punished for all my sins, God chose to pour out His grace to forgive and redeem me. Knowing all His grace has done for me, am I really refusing to give grace and show love to this lady?
She hadn’t walked too far. This grace lesson had my heart racing so fast, I think I shouted the next sentence at her. I said, “Ma’am! If you need gas in your van, I would love to fill the tank for you.”
I pumped the gas for her and she thanked me. I told her that I hoped it was enough to get her some place warm for the night, and then I got back into my car with the screaming kids.
I set a goal for 2014 to better understand God’s grace and to show more grace to others. This story reminds me that I’m still struggling to understand grace and show grace. Last night, I gave away a tank of gas and received a huge lesson in grace.