Do you remember the brilliant illustration using the jar, large rocks, gravel, sand, and water? If you need a refresher, here’s Stephen Covey’s retelling of the story. It’s a great life lesson about priorities and making sure you take care of the most important ones first.
Hold that thought. We’ll get back to it.
Have you ever noticed how frequently songwriters and poets and authors compare grace with water? I’ve heard it compared to a river, to an ocean, to rain. Yet when I did a search of the word ‘grace’ in the Bible, I couldn’t find it compared to water anywhere. I easily could have missed it. But I did notice a few times where it talked about grace flowing and overflowing, so I guess that’s probably why it’s been compared to water so often.
And I think grace is a lot like water. Think about it.
Water is not cylindrical or octagonal or square. Water fills empty space and takes the shape of that space–no matter how odd or convoluted the space is. In the same way, the place where grace is going doesn’t have to ‘fit’ grace. Instead, grace ‘fits’ whatever space it finds that needs filling–no matter what condition that space is in.
And when water (and grace) fills a space, it covers every exposed surface, fills every gouged out hole, reaches the depths of every crack and crevice.
Grace is never-ending. You’ll never run out. You don’t have a daily quota or a lifetime limit. The grace provided to you is however much you need for your life at this precise moment. No measure. And, therefore, no comparison.
And grace flows continually into the life of every believer. It never stops flowing as long as we’re breathing.
And grace doesn’t have to be invited. It just shows up whenever it’s needed.
In some ways grace reminds me of the water in the illustration I mentioned.
Because no matter how well we plan our days and our lives. Even if we make sure to place all of the big, important things on our schedule first. And regardless of how much gravel (good, but not quite as important tasks) we’re able to fit between and around the large rocks. And no matter how much sand we can handle, those minute details some of us are so good (or so horrible) at tending to.
There’s still going to be emptiness that needs to be filled. We’ll still miss something. And there will still be places that nothing and no one else can reach–much less, touch and heal.
That’s when grace comes. Where we fall short (no matter how hard we try), grace fills in. Sometimes our jar may look like it contains only water. Other times, not so much.
Either way, we always need grace.
Even when we’ve done our best, we still need His grace!