“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”- Luke 6:36
One of the keys to being thankful is not taking things for granted. I don’t know about you, but my list of overlooking and underappreciating is quite long. We can take for granted our family and friends who provide loving support and companionship; the place we get to live; the income we receive at our jobs; the health we have; the freedoms we enjoy in our country.
One of the most overlooked aspects of our faith is the tremendous treasure of God’s MERCY. In Ephesians 2:4-5, Paul shares about this precious gift, “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” When was the last time you reflected on and genuinely appreciated God’s mercy towards you? It is a mercy demonstrated by His patience and understanding (Psalm 103:13-14). It is a mercy displayed in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for our sins (Romans 5-6-8). It is a mercy which keeps judgment at bay so that more can find their way to God (2 Peter 3:9).
Perhaps the most well-known definition of mercy is when someone does not receive what they deserve. James 2:13 states, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Today, as we think about mercy, I am drawn to one of Jesus’ stories that speaks to God’s love and long-suffering. It is the Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12). In this account Jesus speaks of an Owner of a vineyard (God) who leaves his field/possession to farmers (religious leaders). At harvest time the owner sends his servants (prophets), but the farmers mock, mistreat, abuse, and even murder some. Finally, the owner sends his son (Jesus), believing he will be honored. Yet, the wicked tenants in their envy, pride, and greed, kill the son as well. In Mark 12:9 Jesus details the owner’s final, lone recourse, “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”
Notice the powerful and merciful truth that ALL ALONG the owner had the power to overtake and overwhelm the tenants, yet he KEPT MAKING ATTEMPTS to reach out to them. This story exemplifies God’s mercy to me. Even though God is all-powerful, holy, and the righteous judge, He continues to reach out to us, show Himself to us, and wait for us to humble ourselves. James 4:6 tells us, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
As we move throughout the day, let’s give thanks to the Lord who has displayed and extended His mercy to us!