Two of our Values at Missiongathering are Grace and Faith. What do we mean by that? Read more below...
Grace & Faith
It was about eight years ago my wife Corinna and I had just moved back to Colorado for the second time (it’s a long story, for another time). So, we had just moved back to Colorado, and we didn’t have much money. We were living in my parent’s basement—because we had already lived in my in-law’s basement the first time, and that’s not something you want to do twice in your adult life!
We were living in my parent’s basement, and I was working as a teller at a Chase bank branch, making a whopping $11 dollars an hour. To save on expenses, we had sold a car, so I was riding my bike to work, as it was only about a mile or so from the house.
My bike was a yellow Trek mountain bike. Nothing too fancy, I had gotten it the year before for my birthday. It wasn’t anything too special, but still, I appreciated it and enjoyed riding it. And, at that time, it was my primary mode of transportation.
Now, it’s not easy riding a bike to work in dress slacks and a button-up shirt, but I made the best of it, even despite the business dress code, wearing sweats over my dress slacks each day to keep them from getting messy on the way.
And each day, I’d park it out front and lock it to the bike rack in front of the branch. Each day.
The problem, as you can probably imagine, is when you do something like that again and again, people notice—people who have nefarious intentions.
Sure enough, one day, one the personal bankers yelled out,
“Loren, someone just stole your bike.”
I ran outside, looked down at the clipped chain lock, and watched helplessly as some punk kid rode down the street on my bike. One of the bankers jumped in his car and tried to follow, but by then it was too late, he was gone.
And so was my bike.
I was bummed.
I mean, really, really bummed.
Yeah, it was just I bike, but I didn’t exactly have the money to go out and buy another one. Not making $11 an hour. And, remember, that was my transportation to work.
And, if that wasn’t bad enough, I had to listen to all the personal bankers feign sympathy.
Guys, all my age, who all had better positions than me, despite me being just as smart and hardworking as them.
I was angry and bitter.
I remember calling Corinna and she came by and picked me up for lunch. We went over to the Burger King restaurant, on the corner of 80th and Sheridan, if you know that part of town. But something happened when we ordered our lunch.
After my bike was stolen, the Burger King manager had come into the bank to make his daily deposit and had heard about the whole thing. Because of that, when we ordered, he comp’d our meals, saying it was “the least he could do.”
While I’ll admit that didn’t turn my day around
—Corinna and I still sat there and pitied our situation—
his small act of grace has stuck with me all these years later.
Because it was an act of grace, an act of grace given to me, which I received—and in receiving it, my faith; in myself, in other humans, and even in God, began to be restored. I was sitting there bitterly eating my free lunch, and it slowly began to dawn on me, that this manager was a good person—not all people were trying to screw me over. It slowly began to dawn on me that I was going to be okay—people could see I was a good guy just trying to make a living. And it slowly began to dawn on me that God was looking out for me—despite me thinking the opposite.
In receiving grace, my faith was strengthened.
Think about a time someone showed you kindness.
They were extending God’s grace to you.
Maybe it was something small,
like simply letting you into traffic,
or holding the door open for you,
or smiling at you as you walked down the street.
But it was an act of grace that you received—unless you didn’t.
There are people like that right?
People who “don’t want your charity,”
or “want to do things on their own.”
And those are people who are often isolated and alone.
There’s something about giving AND receiving grace that changes us.
It builds our faith.
You’ve probably encountered this person
—and I hope this person is you—
who knew deep down in their core that they were loved.
To love is to give grace.
And when people are able to receive that love, be it the love of God, or the love of a friend or family member, there is a faith that blossoms within that person.
Missiongathering Christian Church strives to be a place where people give and receive grace so that our faith is strengthened, that’s why when we begin gathering weekly, we will practice communion each week. We believe communion is a sign and symbol of God’s grace, and in giving and receiving it, our faith is strengthened.
And let me add that this is God’s grace, not ours, therefore we invite everyone—and we mean everyone—to receive God’s grace.
So, let’s look for ways we can give and receive grace—grace that ultimately comes from God.
After all, God is love, and everyone who loves is from God and knows God.
Because, in giving and receiving grace, our faith is strengthened.