A funny thing happened to me the other day. We had an arborist come by the church to take down some dead trees and, when he was done, he asked me if I needed any mulch. Without giving it too much thought, I responded, ‘Sure! That’d be great!’ I then wandered over to my driveway where their truck was backing in. A few moments later the truck tipped over its entire load of mulch on my driveway. Now, I’m terrible with estimating measurements…10-15 yards worth? At any rate, I had been given about ten times more mulch than I could ever hope to sensibly apply!
Four hours, and several dozen wheel barrow loads later, I had half the mulch moved off of my driveway. The monotony of shoveling, as you might imagine, gave me plenty of time for contemplation. I hope you won’t find it ridiculous for me to say that the enormous pile of mulch on my property inspired me to reflect upon the nature of God’s grace. It would seem, at least, that my unusual analogy places me in good company as I recall that Jesus once compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31).
The first comparison I made related to the price paid for the gift. This massive pile of mulch on my driveway didn’t cost me a penny. Moreover, I did nothing to earn this mulch, it was entirely a free gift provided by a generous arborist. Similarly, God’s bestows His grace without any reference to merit. Grace is a free gift provided by a merciful God (Ephesians 2:8).
Secondly, the quantity of the mulch exceeded my expectations. I, too, find this with God’s grace. Time and time again I experience what is taught in the Bible, that God does for us “immeasurably more than what we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
After identifying those similarities, I began to notice some contrasts between the two. The gift of the mulch was a one time gift. I have no reason to expect that I will receive any more mulch from the arborist. I am so thankful that God’s grace doesn’t work like that! The gift of grace, which saves us, continues to be poured out to followers of Christ (James 4:6). In an effort to explain to ‘the woman at the well’ that God’s grace does not come as a fixed quantity, Jesus likened grace to “a spring of water” (John 4:14). One of the best books I have ever read on the subject of God’s provision of ongoing grace is John Piper’s, ‘Future Grace.’ If ever there were a ‘required reading list’ for Christians, this book would be on it.
Thinking still about quantity, it was patently obvious to me and to all of my neighbours who walked past my house that night, that I had way too much mulch. I needed just a fraction of what I was given. Not so with God’s grace. It will never be the case where I could say that I have too much grace. Nor could I ever say that I have less grace than what I need. My personal experience has matched exactly what God has promised in His Word, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2Corinthians 12:9).
God’s grace is enough. God gives the perfect amount of grace. It’s sufficient; it’s satisfying; it’s all I need. I’m so thankful for that. God’s grace is also timely, and its disbursement is divinely adjusted to accommodate our circumstances. This was the discovery of the apostle Paul who noted that whenever he was most weak, he became strong by the power God’s grace (2Corinthians 12:7-10). That reality comforts me immensely. We need not be anxious about the prospect of challenging times, having the assurance that when the day of trial comes, sufficient grace will be poured out.