Covenant Group Study blog  

Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6: 1 – 10

In preparing for this, I have found that the word “appreciate” has a complicated past; that there were disagreements about how the word should be used. The literal meaning is “more at Price” according to merriam-webster.com. In other words something gains value.

Last week, in class, I mentioned that I had started to read (again) Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. The first two sentences of his script read, “Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”

Our scripture for this week is an excellent example of and definition for “Costly Grace.”

God’s own Son, Jesus Christ, paid the price for our sin with His own life on the cross. I cringe every time I remember how I have sinned and treated that precious gift like some unwanted Christmas toy. It doesn’t help that to sin is to literally miss the mark. Have you ever missed the point of a gift or what the gesture truly meant?

I think that to properly appreciate, we must first assess our priorities. What is important in your life? How do you make an effective choice? Or better yet, do you make effective choices? I admit it, it’s not easy – especially when how I spend my time is one of the choices? I participate in different ministries, so which one is the most important? I don’t know the answer to that, but I suspect that it has something to do with how I perceive God in each of the ministries and how He wants me to encounter Him. How He wants me to appreciate Him.

So, I echo Paul’s sentiment, “Do not accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it.” Have you ever explored your spiritual gifts? Do you know what the Spiritual gifts are? There is a tool to help you assess your spiritual gifts on-line on umc.org. I have taken different assessments and they are very reflective of where I am “at in life.” No matter where I am at in life, though – the most appreciative thing I can do is to work to develop the gifts that God has given to me.

I urge you, do not pursue cheap grace; rather pursue costly grace with your whole heart. Have you ever thought about the phrases “whole-hearted” and “half-hearted”? You know the heart is an amazing organ – part of the heart takes the blood that has passed through the lungs (where God has breathed into us) and sends it out to the rest of the body. The blood then picks up waste material (carbon dioxide) and when it returns to the lungs – it is cleansed and recharged with oxygen. Let’s reflect on that for a while.

Amen.

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