12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
14 And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
By my count, Paul uses the word grace around 90 times in his letters to the various churches in the pastoral letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. His emphasis on grace is apparent matter where you look. He opens every letter with grace be given to the reader, and closes every letter the same way. I would not be surprised if he said “Grace be to you” as his official greeting when he met people. As I think about that, perhaps that would be a good way for all of us to greet people or say good-bye. I understand that in Hawaii it is common to say “Aloha” as a greeting or as departing words. Why not do the same thing with grace!
Today, we say “Hi’ or “Hello” or “How are you today” as empty words that we really don’t expect a truly honest response from. Imagine if someone actually told you exactly how they are that day. Would you take time to listen? Would we even want them to tell us what was really going on in their lives? If they did share with us, would we take time to listen? Would we take time, right there in the convenience store, to pray with them or would we just leave them and say those empty words “I will pray for you,” or do we actually take the time to pray for them. Then there is the common “Have a good day” wrapped up all in one word almost, as it is said so fast like a mantra, said with little meaning or caring. I have said that to a young girl at the cash register that I knew. Her response was I will try, and I responded back, “Don’t try, just do it! Have a good day. It’s your choice.” Now she says “I will” when I say that. Her perspective has changed. There is power in our words.
Imagine if we just started saying “Grace be with you” as a greeting and a conclusion to our conversation, instead of just a dull “Hello, how are you?” I think it would turn a few heads, don’t you? People would think us a little odd, wouldn’t they? After all, we don’t hear grace being talked about much in the world around us. In the church, yes, it is talked about a lot. But out in the street, the supermarket, the gas station, the dentist’s office, the bank, there is little talk of grace. It seems there is more doom and gloom going around than grace.
I think the world needs to hear about grace more from the children of God. I’m guilty, I admit it. I don’t share His grace enough with those around me. I talk about Covid, about work, about my day, but rarely about grace. If I lead the conversation with grace and close with grace, people might start asking me what this grace thing is all about. Why have I started saying that? What is it about grace that I want to talk about? Oh, what a door would be open then! A door that all need to open if they want to find their home in heaven. Then I can freely tell them about the grace of Jesus Christ. How he came to earth to be a sacrifice for their sins. Heaven is not earned. It cannot be bought. It has to be entered into through the blood of the Lamb. By His grace alone we are saved. We did not earn it. We certainly do not deserve it, no matter what good deeds we have done. His grace is our admittance to eternal life in heaven. Without His grace, we are headed for the Lake of Fire eternally.
His grace allows the fruit of the Spirit to grow within us as we mature in Christ. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Who of us do not want more of these things alive in our lives? I know I can always use more of each of these, and there are some of these I really struggle with, like temperance and longsuffering (patience). I need to be more fruitful and the only way I get there is by His grace. His grace gives me a door to all of the ministry gifts. His grace allows me to sing, to worship to preach, to teach, to evangelize, to encourage and edify. If His grave is not in these things, they are non-productive. When I walk in grace and minister grace, His Holy Spirit will touch the hearts and lives of those I come in contact with. After all, we are told to speak with words that minister grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29). That verse has become one of my favorites because it challenges me to watch my words much more careful. Minister grave wherever you go!
I’m going to try it. Pray God gives me the boldness to carry it out. That I might say “Grace be with you” everywhere I go and to everyone I meet. Let’s spread a little grace around us! It’s one of the best things we can share!