There but for the Grace of God go I

There but for the grace of God go I_
There but for the grace of God go I_

There But for the Grace of God Go I…

Recently, we were victimized.My husband’s truck was broken into in our own driveway.Thankfully, Tom had cleaned his truck out because it was being serviced the next morning.God is good – isn’t he?The things that were left in the truck and were taken – do not have great monetary value.It has just created a bit of an inconvenience for him.But it has left me thinking…

My mind is reeling…who did this?Who would do this?Why did they do this?Were they just being mean?Are they self–centered and think they can take whatever they want?Or are they desperate and looking for anything they can sell to make money?Are they hoping to buy drugs?Are they trying to feed their family? Are they young?Are they my age?I cannot even imagine.Did they walk down our well lit drive or park their car down the driveway where they would be close?Was it worth risking their life or their freedom if they had been caught?Were they scared?What will they do with Tom’s prescription safety glasses?Do his boots fit them?

I find it strange that I am not angry at all about this.What I feel is sad.I am just plain sad that someone would do this.Who raised them?What were they taught? Are there people in their life who love them and value them? Where are their morals and values?What have they had to endure to come to this place in their life? Has anyone ever bothered to share Jesus with them?Could I have become like them?Could I ever do something like this?“There but for the grace of God go I.” Have you ever heard this quote?

In the 19th century there was an English reformer and martyr named John Bradford.He was often referred to as “Holy Bradford” out of respect for his dedication to God and his unselfish attitude.The story goes that as he watched evil-doers being taken to their place of execution – he would proclaim, “There but for the grace of God go I.”He understood that it was only because of God’s amazing grace that he was not in the same situation.He was thankful that he knew God and that he knew the difference in what was right and what was wrong.

What John Bradford teaches us here is that we are all human.We are all vulnerable to poor choices and bad mistakes.  "But for the grace of God go I." Any of us could make a mistake that would put us in a bad situation. Each of us is just one poor decision away from disaster.What is the answer for all of us?What is the answer for me?What is the answer for our “friends” who decided to rob us?What is the answer for you?The answer for us all is Jesus.He is the cure to all of our problems.And apart from Him – we all travel a very slippery slope.

While we can all proudly proclaim, “I would never do such a thing” – we ALL do bad things.We all sin.We all fall short of who God is calling us to be.While we may never break into a vehicle – we do act with pride, judge others, wallow in bitterness, act out of self-centeredness and behave like what the Bible describes as a fool. And if we are honest with ourselves – the truth is – if we want to live in a safer, better world – then WE – me and you - need to do something about it!What? What can WE do, you ask? We can tell more people about Jesus.We can offer others the opportunity to know what we know.We can be active in church and invite people to come along with us.We can pray and ask God to bring the lost across our path and show us who needs to hear about Him.We can serve in ministries.We can give of our time and our money.There is MUCH we can do because "there but for the grace of God go I."

We can change what we do that does not matter and replace it with what does matter.We talk and talk and talk.What are we talking about?Do we ever say anything of value?Do we say things that glorify God?Do we say things that point others to Jesus?Or do we share mindless tidbits that proclaim, “Look at what I know.”We share our favorite Pinterest recipes and brag about the awesome parties we had.We share our favorite restaurants.We invite people to go to the gym with us.We encourage others on their diets.We announce where the best sales are.We post and tell people what we are cooking for dinner.Why don’t we share Jesus?Wouldn’t our time be better spent talking, posting, writing and dwelling on Him?

Let’s be different.It’s a new year and an opportunity to do things better.Can we all decide that we are going to master what matters and finally put God first?Can we decide to think before we speak or post on social media and ask ourselves – does this glorify my King?Can we choose to put Him first in our life?Can we spend more time with Him and grow in Him so that He is visible in us?Can we decide today is the day we started to live a life that would be found faithful?

As I researched John Bradford I discovered a bit of irony.In 1555, he was actually arrested.There was a change in the government and within the first month he was arrested on a seemingly trivial charge of “trying to stir up a mob”.He was tried, convicted and sentenced to be burned at the stake.However, it is documented that he held firm to his faith in his last moments.As the flames were lit he turned to a fellow chained alongside him and said, “"Be of good comfort brother; for we shall have a merry supper with the Lord this night!"

Oh God, find us faithful.Help us to live our lives for you and take as many people as possible on this incredible journey with us.Help us to pray for those who do not know you. Help us to share you with others.Help us to be found faithful – because "there but for the grace of God go I."

“Psalm 12:1, “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases!For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”