Coffee is brewing, PC’s are rebooting and the iridescence of pointless chatter has commenced in the office. Fortunately for me, I am still strung up on the overwhelming poise of this morning’s sunrise. The bodacious light reminded of a moment in time with my dad that truly taught me the meaning of grace. Anyone who knows me personally, is very much aware of the tumultuous relationship my father and I shared. However, in the midst of the unique twists within our relationship, there were life transforming moments of joy. These are the memories I hold dear. 

An unexpected affair

One overcast day, my father picked me up early from school, he never does that. Next, I wasn’t quite sure of the destination but it didn’t take me long to realize we were passing through Downtown Kingston. As I stared out the window, my father said to me “Do you see that man in the dirty clothes walking with the newspaper in his hand? Do you see how neat he is?” In an rather annoyed tone, I responded, “Yes, I can see he is homeless?”.

My father continued saying “Yes, he is and we are having lunch with him now.” “What?!”, I distressingly exclaimed. The captivating swagger in my father’s eyes made me realized how serious his intentions were. We pulled up next to the man and my father instructs him to wait at that spot by the corner of a Burger King. He will park and meet him there. We parked the car, then circled back to meet up with the guy. And to my surprise the man seriously waited!

As we approached the unknown man, he astonished me further with an admirable greeting for a lady and the refined man my father was. I found it hilarious that the man bested my father to begin a conversation. Usually, my father is the one who gets in the first word. Furthermore, I was taken by the strange exchange between the two men because I expected the man’s speech to be less proper and more use of the Jamaican Patois. I was beside myself as the man spoke. More importantly, I remember feeling envious of his vast word bank and found myself easily swayed by his eloquent use of the Queen’s English. I thought to myself, “This man is rather intriguing.”

More than table talk

My father invited him to sit with us and offered to buy him lunch. The man found delight in the gesture. We had taken our seats and I noticed something in his posture. He sat with a poised and educated demeanor conveying nothing I have ever experienced before. I was eager for the conversation to begin, in order, to reveal to me how this man ended up on the streets. Additionally there was his lingering odor. At first, I found it difficult to disregard, but the more engaged we were by his wisdom the less we noticed it.

He and my father hopped around various topic regarding current news events, and my father was quick to hand him the most recent copy of the Gleaner (Jamaican Newspaper company). I didn’t know of the words he spoke, but I must say my charm grew for the man in each passing moment.

Suddenly, there was a shift in conversation to the Bible. This is my cue to sink in my chair. I know how cavaliar my father gets by a good argument. The man’s views were more along the agnostic side. More importantly, he exhibited this strong sense of control and shear brilliance in relaying his points across to us. My father and I received and respected his vantage point. Finally, my father slips him about 500 JMD from across the table. This was the closure to our conversation and we went our separate ways.

Our Disappointments matters

On our way back to the car, I asked my father if this was his intention all along. He replied with a resounding “Yes.” I asked him “Why?”. My father explained that there is never a day that goes by that he doesn’t reminisce about his life living on streets as a boy. It was on the streets where the two met. Ever so often he looks for him in order to extend his blessing.

Undoubtedly, my father was not as well-spoken as the man, but he did learn a few things growing up. That him learning to read, portraying the right posture and a little determination, could take him to better places that he could only have imagined.

Defining Grace

In this moment, I realized that everyone may not walk the same miles in your shoe, this doesn’t mean everyone’s life doesn’t have a telling story. He maintained, “Living on the streets changes a man. So whenever possible, I choose to use my resources to do better for others. I find it wise to supply grace to others, and expect nothing in return. A little ounce of grace goes a long way and may change the trajectory of someone’s life.”

My father continued by saying, “It was by the grace of God to send His ONLY son to die for the sins of a people who didn’t even believe in who he was. Grace is a free gift, we must as children of God extend grace to our fellow cohabitants of this earth. Class, race, gender, sex or even points of view should not overshadow its value. We must at some point find a line of solidarity which grace can breach.”

Dining with Grace

Psalm 146:7-8 establishes that God provides more than the primary needs of man, he offers liberation from his sins and the unfortunate experiences which surrounds him. We don’t have to imagine being fed spiritually at the proper time (Ps. 145:15) or being loved by Him (Ps. 136:25). We mustn’t forget that His grace is continuously happening.

Today, take notes from the life of Jesus and his sacrifice regarding grace. Adopt it as your own, as he hoped you would. His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9) for us and everyone around us. We cannot desire grace and not practice to give it. Grace holds no record of wrongs, isn’t boastful, isn’t blinded by pride, isn’t selfish, isn’t insufficient, isn’t fearful, and the list goes on. It is meant to be given out of a generous heart, with the only string attached – to be freed from our old ways.

I am prompting you to look passed the religious gesture for a moment. Here is the question we should ask ourselves, “Do you believe in grace? And if you do, Why don’t you share it?”

In that moment I shared with my father, I saw grace, experienced it, received it and gave it all in one sitting as we dined with Grace