Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Deep Dish Grace

I’m a well-known fan of barbeque, but I’ll admit an deep inner weakness for pizza. I was late to the pizza party, not really having a legitimate sample until I was 13. And with the closest pizza joint 30 miles away, pizza was not a staple of my teenage diet as it is for most kids today. But my waistline indicates I’ve made up for that deprivation in the years since.

In college, I had the good fortune of having a roommate who worked at the on-campus lounge where handmade pizzas were a specialty. Jeff not only made the pies, he ran the register as well… so, most of my doughy discs of cheesy, meaty goodness were on the house. Thanks UNT!

When Jeff got the job, he told me to drop by and he’d make a pizza just like I wanted. We discussed ingredients and portions and I was not disappointed when he slid me that first pie – a gift, of course. Delish. And being a college kid on a paper thin budget, I made a point to get over to Jeff’s kitchen often. But something strange was happening.

I’m a meat-eatin’ kind of guy. Pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, bacon bacon… I want all
of it and lot’s of it. And I had clearly discussed this with Jeff. But each subsequent time I ordered “the usual” from Jeff, there would be less meat and more cheese. Not one to chastise a friend for how he made my free meal, I suffered through and gobbled my pizza as best I could. But it just kept getting worse!

I’ll never forget “the pizza that broke the camel’s back”. Jeff brought me a pizza that looked like Greenland in February. It was ice-capped with mozzarella and so thick, I’m not sure there was any meat at all beneath the deep drifts of casein snow. I took it back to Jeff and as politely as I possibly could, I begged for him to explain why he was killing me with this lousy cheese.

Jeff smiled benignly and said, “Ah, I knew you liked a lot of something, I couldn’t remember if it was meat or cheese, but since you never said anything, I just kept loading on more cheese and holding back on the meat.”

Remember how this works, this is where get a Word from Our Sponsor:
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
One of the most under-used privileges Followers of Jesus enjoy is access – confident access – to the “throne of grace”. Remember, “grace” is God’s loving desire to give to us. (In fact, in the Greek language of the Bible, “grace” and “gift” are the same word!) Any time we want, we can enter the throne room, look at our Loving Father, and tell Him what we believe we need.

As Followers mature, and this is a sure sign of maturity, we learn to ask for less and less material stuff, but instead ask for the gifts God truly wants us to have. Personally, I like to ask God for Wisdom. When I’m in a situation that has mushroomed outside of my noggin’s ability to understand it, I beg God for Wisdom. He often serves it with a side of Patience and a tall, cold glass of Forgiveness, but whatever I’m asking for, I know in advance that my Heavenly Father is looking forward to me asking. That’s where the confidence comes in.

And best of all, God is not at all like my college roommate. God never forgets. He knows precisely how much of each ingredient I want. FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY, He knows how much of each ingredient I NEED! Sometimes God gives me a big ol’ pie of something I don’t even recognize… and I dig in knowing that “His ways are not my ways” and there’s every good chance He knew what I needed before I ever stepped into His presence.


How about you? What are you hungry for today?

Clark H Smith

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