Be Grateful for Grace, Seek Grace, Give Grace and Receive Grace
By Rev Gordon Siu
October 16, 2022
God loves to bless His children “abundantly” and even with “grace upon grace.” God does not want us to be content with just what we have received and not to seek the full measure of His grace.
After the Israelites had entered Canaan and taken some of the promised land, they were unwilling to proceed any further as they had obtained some basic security and satisfaction and were scared of their formidable foes. Joshua reprimanded them: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you?” (Joshua 18:3) God very much wants to give us all of His spiritual blessings. But if we take grace lightly, thinking it will somehow be given and do not actively seek it, then we will still not receive it.
The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2b-3). The receipt of grace must start with prayer. But prayer is not a condition for grace. It is to make the person who prays open himself up to God and express his longing for blessings and confidence in the promises of God. God has invited Solomon to take the initiative to ask for grace after his wholehearted sacrificial offering: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Solomon only asked for wisdom so that he could “judge your people” for the benefit of the people. The Bible says, “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.” The Lord even gave him what he had not asked for — wealth and honor (see 1 Kings 3:1-15). This is the Old Testament version of “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
A secondary school teacher thanked God for his teacher qualification and the ability to teach. Then he asked for God’s grace: “Give me, Lord, the class of which I am head teacher!” Then by faith, he made use of various channels to bring his students to the Lord. Another brother earnestly longed for his faith in God to strengthen and that he would better learn to rely on the Lord and lift up His name in all matters in daily life. He fervently asked God for His grace in these. Later, he met with some unexpected obstacles but he deeply learned to trust in the Lord under all circumstances. Yet another person sought the grace to better serve the Lord during his prime; and one other asked for the grace to love the Lord more during the remaining time of his life… Supposing the Lord asks you today: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” what would you ask for?
When one knows how to be grateful, it is then that he would know he should ask for grace. In the wilderness, the Israelites kept complaining that they were being ill-treated by God. Their “prayer” was really to test God and challenge God. If we in poverty and difficulties can still see God’s abundant blessings, our faith will definitely be strengthened in thanksgiving. We will also have the courage to ask for more grace, not just for what we need but also for being able to give out the grace received. This was exactly what the Macedonian churches did: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity (grace)” (2 Corinthians 8:2). They were grateful for grace and they sought grace, and they gave out grace and received more grace.