Grace dispensers! That’s who we’re called to be! Paul wrote, “Surely you have heard about the dispensing of God’s grace that was given to me for you” (Eph. 3:2).
The image of dispensing grace like perfume is used by several New Testament writers – a few droplets of perfume spraying through the fine holes of an atomizer so that the atmosphere of a room is improved.
That image describes Jesus as He walked on earth. It’s how His grace is meant to work today through all who follow Him. The entire world or a given society may not be converted, but there is transformative impact on those nearby.
We must be careful in our zeal for “right living” not to become a different kind of spray apparatus, the type used by insect exterminators. I well remember overseas mission days chasing after cockroaches, ants, and flies in our jungle home armed with a can of BAYGON …
“There’s another one! Get it!”
Pump, pump! Spray, spray!
It’s easy for us as Christians to slide into the role of “moral exterminator” instead of”grace dispenser” for the culture around us. But is that really what God has called us to be in Jesus?
To paraphrase Philip Yancey, “Whereas we share a deep concern for a world that embraces moral relativism, and, at times, outright acts of evil, in interacting with that world, we do well to follow the example of Jesus. He came for the sick, and not the well, for sinners, not the righteous. He never countenanced evil, but He always stood ready to forgive.”
Jesus understood that mercy triumphs over judgment.
One final note. The product we used to kill insects overseas would probably never pass FDA regulations here … the spray’s chemicals could be equally hazardous to the user’s health as well as the insects. Perhaps there’s a parallel for us there as well!