Just this week, there was an article published in the New York Post, telling the story of an old painting stuck behind the couch. For years, it hung above the couch, but rowdy children prompted some responsible parent to remove it from the wall and wedge it behind the furniture. For years, the home's inhabitants wondered if the family lore about the piece being a genuine Michelangelo painting could be true. Finally, upon the father's retirement and a life with fewer demands, research began with startling realizations that this very well could be authentic. My favorite part of this story is that the most indicative evidence suggesting that the painting is a real Michelangelo is its mistakes.
God's grace says two things to me tonight:
1. I am treasured. Accepted. Chosen. Adopted. Forgiven. An heir. (Eph. 1) Like a painting long lost and now found, the very flaws make it more authentic. (In Jesus' words, It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Luke 5:31) I used to wonder if God really treasured me, or was it I that needed to treasure Him. Now, I know that it's both!!! [For example, the exact translation of Paul's Ephesians 1:11 is not completely known; it seems to say both "we were made to be His inheritance" and "we have obtained an inheritance." He treasures us, and we treasure Him.] We ourselves are HIS inheritance, His treasure, His Michelangelo!!!
2. I can take this gift of grace and let it bloom, accept the gift accordingly. Like a long-lost son, like a hidden treasure in a field, like a pearl of great value, like the one sheep missing from a flock of 100. And if I might take the liberty to apply modern-day parables, like a painting which I treasure, hang in a place of honor. I have an inheritance that can never be taken away, can never be broken by flying tennis balls and sin, never comes with conditions like good behavior or better sacrifices...
Simple, I know. Now, to convince myself to live this way.