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Food, Rain, and the Lord Jesus

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Samuel encourages us to see God's goodness and grace in the common every day things—good food and rain. 

Good food and rain—two things that we get plenty of in Singapore. But what do these two things have in common?

They display the unmerited goodness of our gracious God.

In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas are in Lystra, and they heal a man crippled from birth. Because of this, the crowds are convinced that they are gods and start worshipping them. When they hear of this, they tear their garments and plead with them to turn from their idols to the one, true Creator God.

This is what they say in Acts 14:15-17:

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.

Yahweh-worshippers get rain and food. Idol worshippers get rain and food.

Paul and Barnabas preach the unmerited goodness of our gracious God.

Our legalist-nature struggles with this sometimes, doesn't it? Why are talents not distributed according to a person’s character? Why is natural beauty not distributed according to a country’s morality? If we run the universe, we would distribute all things good based on merit.

Andrew Wilson writes in his book God of All Things:

God is different. He is a bountiful Father who lavishes excessive goodness on his creatures whether they like it (or him) or not. He scatters gifts like sunshine, and grace like rain. Nobody gets what they deserve, and it’s just as well, or none of us would be here at all. This world is not set up to reward the righteous with nice weather, good looks, and quick minds; it is set up to proclaim the abundant goodness of the God revealed in Jesus, who loves his enemies and prays for those who persecute him.

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Matthew 5:45 also records these words for us, “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In Singapore, we have plenty of both (good) food and rain—and plenty of opportunities to be reminded of God’s grace.

Food

I remember my recited, automatic responses to: “Samuel, say grace for us.”

“Good food, good meat. Thank God, let’s eat.” or “Thank you, God, for the food. Amen.” or “Grace.”

Not wrong prayers (well, except the last one), but if only I understood the magnitude of grace shown to me, each time I had food in front of me. What more, good food.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Life Together:

God must feed us. We cannot and dare not demand this food as our right, for we, poor sinners, have not merited it. Thus the sustenance that God provides becomes a consolation of the afflicted; for it is the token of the grace and faithfulness with which God supports and guides His children.

The next time you eat out, slow down. Look at your own food, taste it slowly. Enjoy it. Look around at all the people enjoying their food as well. Give thanks. And be reminded of the unmerited goodness of God. (I highly recommend doing this with the Char Siew Rice from Roast Paradise, Old Airport Road Hawker Centre.)

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Rain

Recall what was written in Matthew 5:45: “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Here’s Andrew Wilson again:

He does not divert the water toward only those individuals or nations who have reached a sufficient standard of justice; he pelts it over us indiscriminately, soaking us with his kindness, whatever sort of life we’ve led, gods we’ve worshipped, or day we’ve had.

The next time you get caught in the rain, slow down. Maybe stand in it for a bit. Get a little bit wet. Feel the droplets of water. Look around at the other people also caught in the rain. Give thanks. And be reminded of the unmerited goodness of God.

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The Lord Jesus

We receive the greatest, unmerited grace in the Lord Jesus. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1-10: 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Give thanks. And be reminded of the unmerited goodness of our gracious God.