By Paul Kim, Pastor
People can be very kind, especially when you’re saying good-bye. Numerous friends expressed their care and friendship as my family and I left Philadelphia. One person was kind enough to treat my wife and me to a wonderful dinner at a very nice steak
restaurant. It was far nicer than where we would go to treat ourselves. She insisted on ordering us a feast, enough for us to have a bag full of goodies to take home. I ate like a king. I felt like a king. It was the royal treatment.
I knew this person wasn’t particularly wealthy. This was a generous and sacrificial gift. Her generosity went beyond expectation. She really didn’t have to go to such measures, and that made the treatment even more royal. Perhaps you remember times when you were given a lavish gift, when someone went “over the top,” when you received the royal treatment. It’s beyond kind and appropriate—it’s lavish.
Sometimes we keep something of a tally. When someone gives a Christmas gift, we feel we should respond with a birthday gift of comparable value. It shouldn’t be too cheap, and it need not be too extravagant. But sometimes, someone gives something that’s excessively generous that can’t be reciprocated. It breaks the dynamic. It’s “off the charts,” beyond social norms, and it feels delightful and humbling.
That evening, I was given a costly gift that I would not be able to reciprocate. It was off the charts. A farewell/appreciation dinner didn’t have to be this lavish. She made me feel deeply appreciated and cared for. She made me feel rich.
It was a gospel moment. This is how the gospel feels. We’ve been given a lavish gift, one that is truly off the charts and beyond any hope of reciprocation. We helplessly receive what we could never achieve by our own resources or effort. The gospel makes us feel fabulously wealthy. We’ve been given the royal treatment. We need to “taste” (believe) this gospel reality and feel our wealth and the freedom it brings.
Paul Kim was the featured speaker at Crossroads’ recent Fall Retreat (Oct. 14-16), and he shared how we can ‘live out of’ what we’ve received by grace through Christ. The audio will become available for download within the next month.
Why do we call this Wednesday at 4 pm? The inspiration came from the following quote, by one of our favorite authors:
"God, or no-God. [Sex] or blowing your brains out. Whereas and in fact my problem is how to live from one ordinary minute to the next on a Wednesday afternoon."
Walker Percy, The Last Gentleman
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