Monthly Archives: November 2002


Driving to work on Tuesday I passed a beat up old moving van. Box truck. It was white with paint peeling and missing in places. It was dirty, dented, obviously old, and it looked the sort of exterior that must hide an equally run down and unattractive interior. I imagined all sorts of mechanical trouble from a truck that run down. Suspension problems, transmission, etc.

The company name painted on the side of the truck was “Grace.” That was it. It wasn’t “Grace Moving Co.,” or “Grace, Inc.,” but simply “Grace.” And the company logo looked fine. No peeling or dirt there. It was like the company had just bought this old truck and placed their logo on it, brand new.

The value of that truck was not in the truck itself, per se, but in that truck’s being owned by Grace. Grace listed that truck as an asset on their balance sheet. Whatever I thought of its usefulness, it did useful work for them. Whatever I thought of its reliability, they would repair it when it broke down. Whatever I thought of its appearance, they still put their logo on the side to identify it as theirs.

I saw that truck as a rolling metaphor for the Christian doctrine of grace. That doctrine explains why people who merit very little for themselves are nonetheless seen as inordinately valuable by God. From

The Apostle Paul uses this word [grace] to refer to the unmerited and freely given favor and mercy which God bestows upon the sinner in salvation. Through this grace, the sinner is delivered from sin and judgment. This grace, though freely given, is precious and costly, for its basis is the saving work of Jesus Christ. A salvation that is received by grace is the very opposite of a salvation that is earned by working or by obeying the law of God. A person who is saved by grace has no basis for boasting in his salvation for he has done nothing to earn or merit it.

And from the Christain Apologetics and Research Ministry:

Grace is unmerited favor. It is God’s free action for the benefit of His people. It is different than Justice and Mercy. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve.

What’s Your Story?

I heard this joke on the radio this morning.

Art Linkletter was visiting a nursing home for senior citizens with Alzheimer’s disease. He walked up to one old woman and asked, “Do you know who I am?”

“No I don’t,” she replied, “But if you go to the front desk, they’ll tell you.”

It’s a cute joke and it made me smile, but it also made me think.

First, I thought about living in a place where, every now and then, everyone has to walk to the front desk to be reminded of their name, or what they did for a living, or who comes to visit them and when. I imagine I’d feel pretty empty walking up there. Who am I? What did I do with my life? Is it a wasted life? Is that why I can’t remember it now?

But then I thought that, as sad as that trip to the front desk might be for someone, the trip back to one’s room would probably be a happy one. Walking to the front desk, you were just an old person, indistinguishable even to yourself from the dozens of other old people that surround you. But then you heard the nurse say, “Why, you’re Ms. Jenkins, and you were a school teacher!” I am? I was? That means I taught thousands of children to read! That’s something to be proud of. I didn’t know I had it in me!