(Download the entire Ephesians Devotion.)
I took my seat, a bit early, but it soon began to fill up and soon was totally filled. I would say there were about 120 people. At the appointed hour, the choir came down. Following the choir came the minister.
I was absolutely shocked. He was very tall – and also very large, maybe 280 or 300 pounds. But the most noticeable feature was his stumbling, lumbering gait. He was awkward, almost falling, with his long useless arms at his sides, like they were awaiting further instruction. His head was misshapen, his hair was askew. He stumbled up the three or four steps to get to the pulpit. When he turned to face us, I saw the thick glasses, and through them I could see the milky film over his eyes, one of his eyes was going out, nothing coming in to the other. When he read, he held the book near his nose. When he spoke, the sinews of his neck worked with such vigor as the pushed out the words, it was as if he had learned to speak as an adult. But I lost all consciousness of that after a while. He read 1 Corinthians 13 and preached on the subject in the bulletin, “But the greatest of these is love.” It was an unusual thing. If you had a copy of his sermon, you would say, I’d give it a grade of “C.”
It was not poetic, it was not prophetic, it was pastoral. It was so warm and so full of love and affection. It was firm, and it had exhortation in it. But the relationship between those people, the love that he extended as he preached, and the love that came back from those people who sat quietly, leaning forward, was captivating, and I was captured.
I wanted to get acquainted with this extraordinary preacher, so I lingered at the door hoping to invite him to lunch. He couldn’t go, but as I stood at the door and observed the greetings and hellos and little words of pastoral care, comfort, and respect between him and the members, one woman I would guess to be seventy shook his hand at the door. She spoke with him and said this: “I wish I could have known your mother.”
I saw her having the same trouble as I was.
She didn’t understand the source of this pastor’s beauty and thought maybe, I wish I knew your mother.
He said, “My mother’s name is Grace.”
When everyone had left and I began to visit with him, we sat on the back pew for a few minutes, and I said, “That was an unusual response you gave to that woman, ‘My mother’s name is Grace.’”
And he said, “It is? When I was born,” he said, “I was put up for adoption at the Department of Family Services. But as you can see, nobody wanted to adopt me. So I went from foster home to foster home, and when I was about sixteen or seventeen, I saw some young people going into a church. I wanted to be with young people, so I went in, and there I met grace – the grace of God.”
Grace to you and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
In love, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
- Where do you desire peace in your life? Where do you feel troubled and afraid?
- “Grace is getting what you don’t deserve”—when have you experienced grace? When has grace captured you?
- Who is someone in your life you could demonstrate grace to so that they may feel the Peace of Christ?
- Why do you think God calls us his adopted children?