Respond to Grace

Sunday, November 3

11-3By Dave Brown, Presiding Bishopric

“He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.”

—Luke 19:3–4

One of my favorite television shows, Friday Night Lights, was about a high school football team and its community. An important cast member was the coach. While he obviously had interest in helping his team win games, I liked him because he took more interest in helping the team develop character and traits needed to grow into responsible young men.

A recurring phrase he used as part of the pre-game pep talks was, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” When he said this, he was not predicting the outcome of the game but  encouraging the team in how they approached the game. He was saying that if they played the game without regard for the scorekeeping, and with gratitude for being able to take part, they would be transformed by it.

Regardless of the final score, they could not lose if they expressed their gratitude for being able to enjoy playing football and finding ways to share with others.

Because Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was, he put himself in a position to receive God’s grace. He then said he intended to give half of his possessions to the poor and repay those who he defrauded by four times as much. This giving did not reveal how thankful he was for Jesus’ invitation as much as express how thankful he wanted to be.

Our giving isn’t only to express gratitude for how God has transformed our lives.  It is to say to God, “I know my transformation isn’t over and I’m going to put my treasure (money, time, talents) where I want my heart to be.”

Prayer for Peace
Generous God, we respond to your grace with gratitude. We want so much for Christ’s mission to be our mission. We want to share our treasure and Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Growing a Gracious, Generous Heart
Open your heart to God’s grace and generosity with a “breath prayer.” Let your breathing slow and deepen. Be aware of God’s breath moving in and out of your heart. Spend several minutes focusing on breathing in God’s generosity. With each breath, silently name one gift for which you are thankful. Let your heart expand to contain God’s gracious outpouring of love. With each breath out, name one gift you want to share from the overflow of your heart.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will be open to receive your transforming power in my life.

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