Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Paul states that “Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7).
There’s a joke that goes like this: Jesus walks into an Olive Garden. When he approaches the hostess desk, he asks about the breadsticks.
“You have unlimited breadsticks, correct?” Jesus asks.
“Yes, we do! Unlimited breadsticks!” the hostess replies. “How many do you have in your party?”
Jesus answers, “Five . . .” and then under his breath, “. . . thousand.”
If you don’t appreciate a good, cheesy joke every now and again, I apologize. The joke is funny for obvious reasons, but it points out a strong truth about Jesus and the story of feeding the 5,000: Jesus always has more than enough. Whether it’s breadsticks or grace, Jesus has you fully covered. He doesn’t even have “just about” the right amount; He has more. The breadbaskets overflow and His grace extended to each of us overflows too
Paul calls this grace a gift, and, in this case, it is a gift worth regifting. As we enter the holiday season, the word “regifting” has a negative connotation. But in this case, it is giving something that has been poured so fully into our lives that it flows out into the lives of others. In this case, regifting grace is acceptable because it never runs out.
I am reminded of Lamentations 3:21-23:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Today, I invite you to bask in the joy of unlimited breadsticks. To bask in the love of unlimited grace. And to live in the overflow of grace by extending it to everyone whom you encounter. Give grace freely, knowing you will never run out.
Recalibrate: What is something that is hard for you to give? (Time, money, energy, food?) Is part of the reason you hesitate giving these things that you are afraid you will run out of them?
Respond: Ask God to show you what it is like to live your life so overflowing with His love and grace that it spills out all around you and everywhere you go.
Remember: “Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head” (Ephesians 4:15 , CEV).
Jessyka Dooley is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, leading Live Wonder (ages 0-3), Live Adventure (ages 4-11), and Live Purpose (ages 12-17), along with their supporting ministries. She grew up in Washington State and has a degree in theology from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jessyka has served in various areas of ministry, but her passion for discipling kids has taken center stage in her career.
Play a game of “Build It Up High” using your little one’s toys. Start out by using blocks and just keep adding to your tower until it crashes or your little one knocks it over. Know that no matter how high or low we go, we can go nowhere that Jesus hasn’t already been. Know that He has gone to the absolute depths so we may go to heavenly heights with Him.
The game Snakes and Ladders (also known as Chutes and Ladders) is so old that it can be traced back to two years before Jesus died on the cross! Snakes and Ladders is a board game with pictures of ladders and snakes. To move, you throw dice. If you land on a ladder, you climb quickly through the game. If you land on the head of the snake you go backwards in the game. If you have this game, get it out and play with a friend. Know that when Jesus died for you, He went as far backwards, in the game of life, as possible so you would not have to. Know that Jesus is the One who places ladders in your path so you can climb through the game of life and finish with Him.
As I wrote this article, we had just experienced another Black Friday. I praise the Lord that it is over! My email Inbox was flooded with offers such as “45% off your entire purchase!” or “For a limited time only, get 30% off your $100 purchase!” or “Hurry while supplies last!” These emails attempt to suck you in and make you think you’re getting a really good deal. Sometimes the savings are significant, and those sales definitely helped me as I bought Christmas gifts for my friends and family. But if you think about it, sales are limited. Companies could never give 100% off. Their supplies are always going to run out, especially at a low price! I find great encouragement in the fact that God’s grace is unlimited. It’s empowering and it’s already been paid for. Today, I urge you to spend some time thanking God for His grace and thinking about what it means to you.