I live in a really pretty place.
Sure, at some points during the year, it can be a bit drab and wet.
But right now, it’s gorgeous. Sunshine. Ocean. Green fields. Cliffs. Blooming flowers. Blue skies, and the fastest-moving puffy white clouds you’ve ever seen!
Even people that have made there home here for several years still remark, “I can’t believe I live here!”
I’ve traveled a lot; while every place has its own unique charms and blessings, I can say that not every place has the same degree or type of beauty. Across all categories, my current home town is hard to beat!
I could certainly understand if some people remarked, “It’s not fair that you get to live there!” Many of my friends live in hard areas. I previously lived in a city that was so polluted that there were times I couldn’t even sit in some rooms of my house without my lungs burning from the toxins.
Looking around, I could easily consider this place to be a tremendous reward for people; after having lived a difficult life, endured hardship and “ugliness,” the opportunity to retire here would be a sweet recompense for the struggles of previous decades.
But what about me? I really haven’t lived lived very long in very hard places; why do I get to live here? I certainly haven’t merited it.
It’s a lesson in grace for me. There’s nothing I’ve done to earn the privilege of living in a beautiful, comfortable place. There is no amazing achievement for which I deserve the reward of enjoying a home in an absolutely incredible environment.
And yet, here I am.
I believe that God sent me here, to work, to serve others. I have many friends that were also sent by God to work and serve others–but the places they’re in don’t appear on any vacation brochure.
So why me?
It’s just grace. There’s no other reason. Completely undeserved, and yet given to me nonetheless.
The challenge? Ensuring that I don’t let myself slip into a sense of entitlement, or to start trying to imagine all the good things I’ve done that have led to attaining this reward for myself.
With life experience like this, I just can’t believe in karma: there is nothing I have done that merits this degree of blessing. Yet here it is.
Perhaps it’s more like Pay It Forward: having been given this unmerited blessing, what am I now going to do to be a blessing to others? There is a challenge to be a good steward. Able to enjoy a relatively simple life in a beautiful place, how am I going to invest my time and energy in others? Will I just stand around and enjoy the pretty views, breathe the fresh air, and be at leisure?
Or will I live in gratitude and freedom? In the midst of a life-giving environment, will I give that life to others?–unmerited, undeserved.
Will I invite others into my home, that they too may partake of the peace and beauty?–free, unmerited, undeserved.
Will I give thanks to God, for lavishing upon me what I have not earned and far more than I need?–magnificent, free, unmerited, undeserved.