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Photo taken in Puebla, Mexico. She makes and sells hammocks. 

Martin Luther, the German Protestant Reformer, once remarked, “We are all beggars. This is true.” In the eyes of God, we are all grace-beggars. No matter what our socioeconomic level, nationality, race, or gender, we all stand on common ground in need of grace.

It has been said that we are simply beggars showing other beggars where to find bread.

Rev. Dr. Tom Long, retired homiletic professor at Candler School of Theology, Emory University tells a story that demonstrates the need for grace in all of us. He says, “A student of mine went jogging with his father in their urban neighborhood. As they ran, the son shared what he was learning in seminary about urban ministry, and the father, an inner city pastor, related experiences of his own. At the halfway point in their jog, they decided to phone ahead for a home delivered pizza. As they headed for the phone, however, a homeless man approached them, asking for spare change. The father reached into the pockets of his sweat pants and pulled out two handfuls of coins. ‘Here,’ he said to the homeless man. ‘Take what you need.”

The homeless man, hardly believing his good fortune, said, “I’ll take it all,” scooped the coins into his own hands, and went his way. It only took a second for the father to realize that he now had no change for the phone. ‘Pardon me,’ he beckoned to the homeless man. ‘I need to make a call. Can you spare some change?’ The homeless man turned and held out the two handfuls of coins. ‘Here,’ he said. ‘Take what you need.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found – Was blind, but now I see. Thank God for messy, extravagant grace. As you approach God in need of grace listen for the words, “Here, take what you need.”

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