Tuesday Morning I was on my way to the office and I stopped for my normal Tuesday Coffee run to a Holiday Station close to the office. Tuesday is Free Coffee Day and they have a great Hazelnut blend. When I walked up to the counter with a banana and and my travel mug of brew I was surprised when the total topped the $1.00 I had in my hand.
”I thought the coffee was free?” I asked. “That ended last week” he relied. As I reached for my credit card, having no more cash on me, I felt somehow cheated. There was a part of me that felt like they owed me my free coffee, after all I had stopped in on Tuesday specifically!
It wasn’t long before I was reminded of a youth retreat that I held many years ago. The great was called “Amazing Grace.” On the first year that we offered the retreat I had a last minute idea to actively show students Grace. I gathered the adult leaders together and asked them to spend the weekend going out of their way to serve the students. I challenged them to offer to carry their tray to their table at meal time, watch them and get them refills on food and get all the beverages for your table.
The students were amazed by the treatment and at the first meal together they were very appreciative of the extra attention. Lots of “Thank yous” were heard around the room. However, as the weekend went on the mood of the room changed. From the amazed appreciation of the first meal to the outright demands of the later meals, their humanity was showing.
It even got to the point where they would wait to ask for a drink refil until the leader at their table sat down, and one by one they would try to “keep them hopping.” The leaders were complaining to me that this was no longer fun, these kids were rude and didn’t deserve this treatment.
Another decision was made, for the final breakfast on Sunday morning the adults we to do nothing for the students, to simple care for their own needs like they would at any other time. The room grew ugly. Complaints were grumbled under and over their breath.
From this ugly scene we went directly into a time of Worship, the message kicked off our time together as together we talked about Grace and meal time. What happened from Friday Night to Sunday Morning? Tow things, first the students began to expect grace, and even demand it. The second thing that happened was that those extending the grace grew tiered of offering grace to those who didn’t appreciate it. Powerful lessons, which I am sad to report happened every time we offered that retreat.
Drifting back to my Tuesday morning, I realized that we come to expect Grace, which in itself is not a problem, for it speaks to the nature of God and our trust in him. The problem is that in the expectation of grace we often lose sight of the amazing nature of God’s Grace, we forget to respond with sincere and genuine thankfulness.
Thanks Holiday for many Tuesday’s of free coffee! I appreciate it. I also know that there was a catch to it, they expected many people to make additional purchases and to discover that they had good coffee.
Thanks you God for your 55 years of Grace! I appreciate it, and stand amazed that there is no catch to it. There is nothing we have to do to earn it, we simply receive it. I pray that my response to God’s amazing Grace would never fade to a simple expecatation.