Veggie Tales, a Rubber Duck, and a lesson on Grace

We have a Veggie Tales system at our house.

My girls tumble all over themselves, hooting with laughter and interrupting one another, to explain to me the very funniest parts of a Veggie Tales video.

And then I tell them how very funny that really is and then how it’s kind of like the Bible account, but here’s “the rest of the story.” This, of course, isn’t nearly as funny as the way singing vegetables without hands have told it, but I give it my best shot.

So, when my daughters finished telling me yesterday how King George, the cucumber who collects rubber duckies, had stolen the only rubber ducky owned by his neighbor, a tiny asparagus…I told them (a slightly modified) Biblical version of King David and Bathsheba.

Skipping the more explicit issues of adultery, I emphasized that King David (err…George) didn’t have Uriah smacked in the face with cream pies. David essentially murdered him.

Why?

Because David wanted Uriah’s wife for himself.

My oldest, my everything-is-black-and-white-without-any-gray kind of girl, wrinkled up her nose in confusion.  “But mom, I thought David was a good guy!  I thought he loved God.”

Oh, and there is the heart of the matter.  That, my sweet girl, is the whole point.

How desperately we try to categorize and define people, sorting them perpetually into good and bad, and ultimately we’re trying to decide who is the hero and who is the villain…who is worthy and who isn’t.

But grace demolishes all these overly simplified judgments, these definitions and categories we shove people into.

That we cram ourselves into.

After all, don’t we even do this for ourselves?  We—I— begin to feel worthy of God’s affection and deserving of His pardon and His sacrifice.  Like I’m one of the “good guys” in this epic story of salvation.

I’m a church girl, not a murderer, after all.

Nothing like David, lusting after a beautiful woman and killing her husband.  Even his failure to take control of his sons and defend the rape of his daughter raises my eyebrows.

Oh yes, there’s ugly sin there, and if we just focused on those portions of his story, we’d easily define him as one of those ungodly kings, too self-focused and pleasure-motivated to be of any use to God.

And yet, he’s the hero of the Sunday School lessons week after week.  The brave lad who conquered Goliath.  The true and loyal friend of Jonathan.  The God-anointed king of Israel.  The poet and musician who penned the words we still sing in worship on Sunday mornings.

He’s a bad guy?  He’s a good guy?

He’s a crazy messed up human, who chose right and chose wrong, but who repented before God.  His testimony can’t be anything other than grace, grace, marvelous grace of a God who always calls the unworthy.

It is because of that realization that David wrote the song of repentance:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
  Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
(Psalm 51:1-3)

It’s the sobbing out of a man who remembered, oh yes, I am unworthy.

In Luke 14, Jesus tells of a master hosting a banquet.  Those wealthy and important enough to receive an invitation declined to come, too busy making excuses to consider the loss.

So the master invited “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.” (Luke 14:21-23).

Joni Eareckson Tada writes, “in this parable, the master’s grace is not lavished on the deserving but on the undeserving.  The unacceptable.  Those who shouldn’t be invited…God’s grace is not a response to what men do.  God’s grace is a divine initiative which is totally unconnected to a person’s merit.  And not only is the grace of God an initiative but a radical one that most would consider outlandish if not mad” (Diamonds in the Dust, p. 355)

This is why Paul reminds us:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)

and

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:5).

We too easily slip into complacency, overlooking the glory of the gift He’s given, assuming that we deserve it or somehow our “goodness” merits the affection He bestows.

But we’re the unworthy ones feasting at the banquet table.

And it’s all because of His mercy.  It’s all a matter of grace.  I’m determined to remember that today and to give thanks.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King

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