There’s a little story in today’s One-Year Bible reading that reminded me of God’s surprising breadth of grace.
The prophet Elisha had a loyal group of ministry followers who also were preachers. One of them said to Elisha that they needed a bigger church building in order to accommodate everybody who wanted to be in worship sessions.
So he suggested that they put up a building next to the Jordan River. Elisha liked the idea and so they went to the river and started chopping down trees.
That’s when one of the borrowed axes lost its iron head which flew into the river.
That axe head might have been a key, income-producing tool for the man who owned it and now it was gone.
It was not a good moment for that hard-working preacher who immediately started thinking of what he was going to say to the axe owner.
So how was God’s grace shown?
“Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”
“The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.” (2 Kings 6:5-7).
Elisha could have told the preacher that bad things happen to good people and that he’d just have to make do some other way and then head to the local blacksmith.
It might have been, though, that Elisha empathized with the preacher’s angst over having to tell the axe owner the bad news. The axe owner then might have thought, “Yeah, I knew I shouldn’t have tried to help with putting up a new worship center. I’ll be more careful next time to protect my possessions.”
Instead of having to give the axe owner bad news, though, I’m sure that the axe owner was given an amazing story of God’s amazing grace.
Can you imagine the impact of this event on all the sweaty preachers who saw what happened? Can you imagine how many times this story was told and re-told?
My point this morning is not to build an expectation that God will restore every loss we incur while trying to build up a ministry. Sometimes, losses such as stolen tools or dented fenders of borrowed cars aren’t restored by miracles but instead by our willingness to accept responsibility for making sure the lender gets back the item loaned.
Whatever we spend will be considered by God as a worship offering anyway, right?
Please don’t see this story as the basis for twisting God’s grace into your specific expectation of replacement insurance.
Instead, please celebrate the larger principle that we serve a knowing God, a loving God, a gracious God, a powerful God and — when it best serves His Kingdom — a divinely intervening God.
As always, I love you