God designed us to be stewards of his grace who serve one another in his name. Since we are all difficult to serve, we need to be motivated. Moving beyond ourselves, out of our comfort zones and into the messy details of one another’s lives takes great confidence that we will have the physical and emotional resources we need. God has served us by sending his Son, who became the supreme example of a servant; and his promises of grace to us are also designed to fine tune our faith so we serve faithfully.
Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Matthew 5:7
In a quirk of the English language we are “mercy-full” when we are extending mercy from ourselves to others. We are merciful when we see the desperate condition of others, imagine how we might feel in their place, and move out with grace to serve them. Being merciful is more than just having an affection in our hearts; it is a perfection of the soul. For example, Jesus learned obedience during his sufferings as a child of God who received mercy from his Father and anticipated the heavenly joy set before him. As a result of this perfecting process, he is able to be merciful to us as we follow him in the obedience of faith. His example is compelling. Like him, our mercy flows from a heart that’s full. It is one of the signs of confidence that God will meet our needs. Mercy signifies that we know we will be loved, and frees us from the fear that serving the needy will place us in a position of greater need. Mercy, then, is a product of our faith in a merciful God. So when our faith moves us to forgive, to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile, to love our neighborhood enemies in countless different ways, we can expect to keep on receiving Christ’s mercy. When we enter a danger zone to serve someone, we can go in with joyful grace and loving mercy, because he goes with us in exactly the same way.
Merciful God, I have received an abundance of your mercy, grace and love. Don’t let me keep it bottled up. As you have been merciful to me, be merciful through me, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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