Sometimes, I’m a little embarrassed by my car. It’s not a bad car; in fact, it’s a pretty good one. It’s less than ten years old, it’s dependable, and it gets great gas mileage.
No, what embarrasses me about this car is that I didn’t pay for it. My parents bought it for me after I totaled my last one.
I don’t have this car because I worked hard for lots of money or because I waited a long time saving the little money I did have. The only thing I did to get this car was crash into another car. It isn’t a reflection of my own virtues. It points past me, to my parents’ love for me and their foresight to put aside some emergency money for me.
I wonder if Lot ever felt the same way about all the stuff Abram did for him.
When his men and Abram’s men started fighting because they didn’t have enough space, Abram suggested they part ways. As the patriarch, Abram had the right to tell Lot where to settle and claim the best land for himself. Instead, he let Lot choose, so Lot ended up with the best land in the area. Lot’s land wasn’t a reflection of his own virtues. It was a reflection of Abram’s generosity.
Later, when Lot starts hanging out with the wrong people, he gets caught in the middle of a war and ends up captured by some pretty powerful tribes. And then Abram risks his life to save lot. Lot is freed, along with all his family and all his possessions. Lot’s only part in the whole thing was hanging out with the wrong people. His freedom is a reflection of Abram’s courage.
And when I look at all of this, it makes sense why grace can be so hard to swallow.
Grace is so hard to accept because it’s an ego killer. It means the best thing in my life doesn’t point to me and my hard work or talent. I’m declared righteous and adopted as a son of God because God is great, not because I worked particularly hard. Grace is all about the greatness of something besides me. Otherwise, it’s not grace.
Grace means if I did it on my own, I’d be driving a Craigslist clunker.
Grace means if he did it on his own, Lot would be rotting away in captivity.
Grace means if we do it on our own, we don’t have a shot at eternity.