Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Karma or Grace?

Well, if you know me... I hope you know that I do not believe in karma. And so the answer to my question above is definitely grace. But let me play the role Paul Harvey...

On Friday night, I hung out with some buddies of mine while they played poker. I did not play simply because I was tired and didn't want to be stuck there all night. I stayed at my buddies place for about an hour... specifically, from 11:00pm to 12:00am. Well, good times were had watching the Flop, the Turn, and the River... etc, etc. But when the clock struck midnight, I was done. So I walked outside only to discover that my car was not where I had parked it just 60 minutes earlier. Hmmmm... what could have happened?

Well, a careful examination of the curb revealed the words "NO PARKING." Methinks a tow truck may have been involved.

Thus began an hour long journey that involved me smarting off to the man who had my car... my buddy driving me to pick it up... and me shelling out $185 (cash only, thank you). Not cool. But truly... I had broken the law (even though I didn't realize I was doing so), and the punishment (albeit severe) was justified.

Then today, I was called into my boss's office. I recently worked on a project that has taken most of this year to complete (I was batting clean up in that three or four other people had attempted to resolve the issue). My boss called us all in the office to give us a reward for all of our efforts... the reward - a $200 AmEx gift card.

So if you put this on a balance... I am Even-Steven (actually, I am $15 ahead). But in reality, I deserved the punishment of the $185... and didn't deserve the $200 at all. I mean it is my job, right? So it is not karma... it is grace. And the best part is that receiving $200 is meaningless compared to the grace shown to me by the Lord... I can't imagine going through life trusting only in my good outweighing my bad (especially when I don't always know when I am doing the bad).


EBay said...

This is such a great illustration, Todd. I think we often focus solely on the punishment that has been paid on our behalf, but we forget that God gives beyond that and continues to bless us in so many amazing ways. He is so sweet!

pip said...

Don't you owe me $15 ;-)

knelson said...

I agree with ebay - this is a wonderful could be preaching soon! Hope all is well with you!

susannah said...

I love the Even Steven Seinfeld episode! (I still got your excellent point but was thinking about that the whole time...)

Todd Richards said...

Susannah... so glad you caught the Even Steven reference.

Rachel said...

Hey, Todd....just came across your blog. You're a wonderful writer.


Brian Pikkula said...

Hey Todd,
Long time no see. Your story reminds me of a potential sermon from an experience of mine when I was a youth minister in the Netherlands.
I was tired and wanted to get home (and had the revival and music leaders in the car with me), so instead of going around the block I deliberately and willfully broke the law and took a left instead of making a right only turn. Guess who was there…. The German Polizei. Long story short, I felt like a putz, the revival leader paid the ticket (you pay on the spot over there), and we had a good discussion on Grace. I told him he had to use this example of him paying for my disobedience even though he did nothing wrong in a future sermon. He agreed.

Hope to see you soon.

Oh, BTW, Spencer Robert Pikkula is now 3 weeks old today. I’ll try to post some pics at soon.