Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:1-2
Some people think that being kind and gracious is a sign of weakness, but the exact opposite is true. The measure of graciousness in your life is the true measure of your strength.
According to the 19th century British hymn-writer, Frederick W. Faber:
“Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning.”
Being kind and gracious towards others, even when they give you no reason to be kind to them, can have a greater and longer-lasting impact on their lives than perhaps anything else you could offer them. But where does grace begin? Where can you start if you want to be more gracious in your life? The answer I’ve found is this: grace begins with a thought.
One of my favorite birthday presents was a bottle of water. What I loved so much about this present wasn’t just the water itself, but the thought behind it.
It started years earlier when I was on a business trip to New York. During a meeting, someone at the table asked if I’d like anything to drink. I didn’t want to be a bother, and I didn’t want them to have to spend anything on me, so I just said, “Sure, I’ll take some water.”
But a few minutes later, this man came back with a cold bottle of the most incredible water I had ever tasted in my life. I had no idea water could taste so good! It turned out to be a bottle of Evian mineral water, imported from the mountains of France.
When I came back from that trip, I went to the store to see if I could get some more bottles of that water. I went into sticker shock at the price. I decided I didn’t need to relive that experience bad enough to pay that much. But I must have mentioned it to my family, because when my birthday came around, my oldest son, who was still pretty young at the time, went out and bought me a few bottles of Evian water.
I asked my wife if she told him to get it for me, but she didn’t. He just thought of it himself.
I was touched. It wasn’t like I talked or dreamed about this water all the time. But here my son had made a mental note of something that was special to me, and when a special occasion arose, he went out and got it for me. It wasn’t an expensive gift as far as gifts go―even though it was expensive as far as water goes! But what made it so special was the thought that went into it.
And that’s where grace begins: with a thought.
In the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul opens with these words:
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:1-2).
Paul wished for them to have God’s grace and peace in their lives, and he meant it! He backed up his graceful thoughts towards them by writing the letter. Perhaps the most gracious thing about this whole letter is that Paul took time to write it at all!
Here he was, bound in chains as a prisoner in Rome. But rather than focusing on himself and his own problems, he took the time to send a letter to those who needed some encouragement in their lives. That one act of kindness is still impacting lives today, as we’re still reading and learning from the words that Paul took the time to write almost 2,000 years ago!
If you want to grow in graciousness towards others, the best place to start is with a thought. Take some time to let your thoughts roam through different ways you could express grace to those around you. Pick up a pen. Pick up a phone. Pick up a bottle of water.
It doesn’t take much to be gracious, but it does take some thought. Give it some thought today. You’ll be blessed―and you’ll be a blessing―when you do.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the kindness that You’ve shown to me, and I pray that You’d help me to show it to others. Give me Your thoughts to know how I can be a blessing to those around me today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.