Max Lucado: Why Grace Is a Better Gift

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More verb than noun, more present tense than past tense, grace didn’t just happen; it happens.

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. —2 Tim. 2:1, NIV

You’ll be changed from the inside out … God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. —Rom. 12:2, MSG

Though the work of Christ is finished for the sinner, it is not yet finished in the sinner. —Donald G. Bloesch

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us. —Anne Lamott

More verb than noun, more present tense than past tense, grace didn’t just happen; it happens.

Ten-year-olds take Christmas gifts very seriously. At least we did in Mrs. Griffin’s fourth-grade class.

The holiday gift exchange outranked the presidential election, NFL draft and Fourth of July parade. We knew the procedure well. On the day preceding Thanksgiving break, Mrs. Griffin would write each of our names on a piece of paper, dump the slips of paper into a baseball cap and shake them up. One by one we stepped up to her desk and withdrew the name of the person to whom we would give a gift.   

Under the Geneva Convention’s Law of Gift Exchange, we were instructed to keep our beneficiary’s identity a secret. Name disclosure was not permitted. We told no one for whom we were shopping.

But we told everyone what we were wanting. How else would they know? We dropped hints like the Canadian winter drops snow, everywhere and every day. I made certain each classmate knew what I wanted: a Sixfinger.   

In 1965, all red-blooded American boys wanted a Sixfinger.

We knew the slogan by heart: “Sixfinger, Sixfinger, man alive! How did I ever get along with five?” The Sixfinger was more than a toy. Yes sirree, Bob. It could fire off a cap bomb, message missile, secret bullet and SOS signal. Why, it even had a hidden ballpoint pen.

Who could live without a Sixfinger? I couldn’t. And I made certain the other 12 students in Mrs. Griffin’s class knew it.  

But Carol wasn’t listening. Little Carol with the pigtails, freckles and shiny black shoes.

Don’t let her sweet appearance fool you. She broke my heart. For on the day of the great gift exchange, I ripped the wrapping paper off my box to find only stationery.

You read the word correctly. Stationery! Brown envelopes with folded note cards that bore a picture of a cowboy lassoing a horse. What 10-year-old boy uses stationery?  

There is a term for this type of gift: obligatory. The required-to-give gift. The “Oops, I almost forgot to get something” gift.  

Max Lucado Max Lucado is a Minister of Preaching at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio,where he has served since 1988. He has been married to Denalyn Preston Lucado since 1981, and they have three grown daughters—Jenna, Andrea and Sara—and one son-in-law, Brett.

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  • Carlos M. Ortiz

    I am in absolute agreement with Max’s thoughts. Thank you as I am open heart surgery bound this morning here in NYC. His words matched so much of what The Lord shared with me in early prayer this Christmas Eve morn.
    Carlos Ortiz

    • Butch Hendrick

      Carlos I pray for your miraculous recovery and healing from head to toe!!’ have a Merry Christmas!!!

    • Ptr Efren

      I am also in agreement with Max. Indeed, Jesus is the Gift. And He is also the Word. And He is also our Healer. In Jesus’ name, I command Carlos’ heart to follow divine order and healing. I claim God’s word in Isaiah 53:5, which says in original Hebrew, “Uvakhavurato nirpalanu.” (By His stripes, we are healed.). God bless you, my friend.

  • Esuf Ali

    I praise God for Men like Max, he refreshes my soul God bless you Max

  • ifeogo

    There is need to get LAW and GRACE right.

    The Jews in their diligence or arrogance mistook the LAW for legalism instead of guidance to divine truth;
    The Church in her excitement or ignorance has also mistaken GRACE for libertinism instead of enablement for purity.

    Christ’s GRACE grants undeserved LIBERATION from sin, self and Satan and also grants privileged ACCESS into the Spirit’s indwelling and leading for purity; however, Grace forbids unreserved license and carnality (8:9; Rom 6:15 and 8:1-9; Gal 2:17 and 5:13,16-18; 1Pet 2:16).

    Apparently, the Church in her euphoria is unaware that Christ’s GRACE when spurned, brings GREATER JUDGMENT than the LAW (John 15:22-24; Heb 10:28-31; 2Pet 2:17-20).

  • Paul LCS

    Grace is one aspect of Christ but I’ve seen at least a preacher said that Grace is Jesus… I view that Jesus is more than grace: Jesus is Love Compassion Healing and above all Redeemer and Saviour..

    • KathyFische

      And all of those beautiful attributes make up…..Grace.