Undeserved and unreserved

Pastor Bobby and I are working through a series at Trinity CRC focusing on grace. This past week in his daily e-devotions, Dale Vander Veen wrote on the subject and captured what Bobby and I are trying to convey in our messages – especially his Quote for the Day. I’m posting it here with Dale’s kind permission.

Grace graphic found via Google

For forty-three years (1971-2014) McDonald’s periodically told the world, “You deserve a break today.” Those words were rated the top advertising jingle of the twentieth century. Last year McDonald’s dropped their exclusive rights to the iconic slogan. What McDonald’s really wanted was for me to give them a break by buying their merchandise. In fact, several times when their sales dropped, they brushed off the slogan and used it again.

I choked a bit on the deserve part of the message. I couldn’t escape the word, because I couldn’t escape the feeling. And I couldn’t escape the feeling, because I couldn’t escape the truth. I do not deserve a break. I am undeserving. That doesn’t make me unique. I’m not trying to impress anyone with my humility. No one is deserving. Feel free to say to yourself, “I’m undeserving, too.” Much better than “You deserve a break today” would be the prayer, “Lord, give me a break today.” And the emphasis is on give, for I could never earn a break from God.

Some Jewish elders told Jesus that a Gentile centurion “deserves to have you do this” (heal his servant). Why? “Because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” The centurion, however, had his theology and hence his self-understanding right. He sent word to Jesus, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.”

I, too, love God’s kingdom and I, too, occasionally help build his church, but that doesn’t make me deserving. I have found, however, that when I feel the most undeserving, I am probably the closest to grace, for what is grace but “God’s undeserved favor?”

Lord, thank you for giving me a break today – and every day.

Verse for the day:
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:10)

Phrase for the day:
Grace – undeserved, yet unreserved

Quote for the day:
”Grace is dispensed sovereignly and freely by God. It is truly grace, with no mixture of human merit of any kind. This is the manifest work of the tender mercy of God, who stoops to rescue his children from sin and death and who, as he did in the initial work of creation, takes pieces of clay that are spiritually lifeless and breathes into them the breath that quickens them.”
R.C. Sproul, Grace Unknown

…With the prayer that today you will feel the quickening breath of God’s tender mercy and undeserved favor.

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