Grace – An Object Lesson

I put “Grace” here because this story is near and dear to my heart.

Meet "Grace" - my 12-string guitar.

Meet “Grace” – my 12-string guitar.

One Monday morning, while talking with Jesus, I blurted out, “Okay, I’m not going to beat around the bush anymore. May I have a twelve-string guitar?”

When I’d checked at Bernie’s Guitar earlier in the year I told the owner that I wasn’t a professional, and didn’t ever expect to be. I wanted a guitar that sounded good but wasn’t very expensive. He recommended a Sammick he had on sale for less than $300. I told Wendel about it on Wednesday, and he suggested that I check to see if it was still available.

The next day I stopped by – only to discover that Bernie’s was out of business. I had my answer, and it was “no.” Cool. I was willing to accept that.

On Friday morning at 7 a.m., an old friend of the family, Jerry, called me.

“Hey, Tami, I was wondering – I have a twelve-string guitar. I think you were the last one to play it about ten years ago. Do you want it?”

My initial reaction was to say, “No, that’s okay.” Then I remembered that I’d asked Abba Father for one. Here was the answer to my request, so instead I said, “Jerry, I’d love to have that guitar.” We made arrangements to get together later that day so I could pick it up.

Now, a long time ago I discovered that shopping is the fastest way to become discontent with what I have – so I don’t browse through catalogs or stores  just for the fun of it. I price things when I intend to buy, otherwise I avoid this activity like the plague!

Therefore, when I arrived and Jerry had the guitar laid out on the table, all cleaned, polished, and outfitted with new strings, I had no idea what I’d been given. I’d expected a Yamaha or something like it. I knew Jerry and knew it wouldn’t be a piece of junk, whatever it was. I looked at the name on it and said, “A Martin. Nice.” I was clueless!

He gave me the paperwork for the instrument. It required special care to keep it in good working condition – humidity, constant temperature, all that. My head swam with the instructions I was given. It seemed like a bit of an overkill. It was, after all, just a guitar.

When I got home, I pulled out the paperwork to see what exactly I needed to do. On the first page was the purchase information – date, owner, and –gulp– price!

There are only two things I own that cost more than that guitar – my car and my house.

I was speechless. Tears began to flow, and I went into the kitchen, picked up a washcloth and started cleaning out my cupboard. (It’s a thing I do when I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what else to do.)

I went back to the living room and looked at the guitar again. “Lord, I don’t know what to say. This instrument is more than I need. I don’t play well enough to merit such a guitar – and I certainly don’t deserve it. I’ve done nothing to earn it.  Thank You; but I have to ask ‘Why?'”

He answered with a single word: “Grace.”

Although I knew the definition of grace: undeserved favor, I’d never really comprehended it. This was the best object lesson in the world.

The rest of the day was spent going from cleaning the kitchen like crazy, to looking at that guitar and tearfully expressing my gratitude to my heavenly Father for His generosity, and back to cleaning again!

A couple of days later, I sensed the Lord say, “I’m so glad you like the guitar. Yes, you understand grace in a way you haven’t in the past. However, I’ve given you a far more valuable Gift – also a gift of grace. Do you value this Gift in the same way?”

I was stunned, cut to the quick. Here I was, an emotional wreck over an instrument. I’d never been undone like this when I considered the Gift God gave me in His Son. I certainly got it now!

The death of Jesus was given to open the way for me to have an intimate relationship with God. His resurrection is my sure hope that because He lives, I will too. There is nothing I can do to earn or deserve it. After all, if something was required in exchange, it would no longer be a gift, but a purchase.

The Bible says, “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9) There’s no place for a superior attitude toward those who do not believe. Even the very faith by which we believe is His present to us.

Grace! What a beautiful gift.

*****

In May of 2013, Jerry was diagnosed with bone cancer. He declined any medical intervention that might delay his homecoming. He traveled with confidence and steadfastness through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, ecstatic with anticipation of what lay ahead. He finally arrived Home on September 2, 2013.

I shall miss him.

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35 responses

10 07 2016
sophialorenabenjamin

You write with a true heart and clean spirit. I really liked the depth of your writing.

8 08 2014
Pastor Roland Ledoux

Great story and example of our Heavenly Fathers unconditional love AND grace for His children! I have experienced similar things in my past and that has only “cemented” my knowledge and the Truth of what the Holy Word says to be FACT!
Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Well known scripture, but one I have found comfort in all my life. We should never forget the two words, ALL THINGS, because that encompasses not just the good that comes our way, but the “not so good” as well.
God bless you Sis Tami, for your friendship to Brother Jerry and your unconditional love. WE will know as we were known, when we gather around our Savior at that banqueting table and we WILL meet our loved ones who went before. That’s an assurance AND a promise from our Heavenly Father!!

31 01 2014
Mary Adrienne

This is a beautiful story…about two beautiful people, by the sound of it.

Bless you for having realized God’s hand in this.

As I read, I’m finding your blog intent to be very similar to my own….and as a result I have lot of reading to catch up on.

Thank you!! Mary

31 01 2014
lessonsbyheart

I don’t think there’s enough room in all of cyberspace for me to tell of all the great and marvelous things God has done in and around me. 😉

So glad to have you here!

\o/

13 10 2013
Beach & Jazz

This is one of the most beautiful stories! I’m working on a post about awesome Christian stories. May I include this one as a link?

13 10 2013
lessonsbyheart

By all means. I love to testify to the wondrous love of our amazing Father! You’re welcome to use anything on my blog, for it’s not about me… 😉

\o/

13 10 2013
Beach & Jazz

Thanks heaps! Sounds good.

28 07 2013
Rene Yoshi

What a beautiful story and wonderful object lesson! Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

28 07 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you. It’s a little embarrassing to know that it took this little picture to finally get me to see the big picture! God is so good!

\o/

20 07 2013
Lori Lara

What a beautiful story…You’ve inspired me to pray as a child would pray to her loving father.

Thanks again for your heartfelt comment on my blog. I was very touched by it.

22 06 2013
Shofar

Tami, do you plan to post something about your guitar playing? (See questions I asked) I’m still looking for ways to improve my skills with the minimum time and discipline I lack!
-Liz

22 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m so sorry, Shofar. I kept the e-mail in which you asked questions. I see it every day when I go through my e-mails.

I actually responded to you when it was posted. Just as I was preparing to hit “reply” something went crazy with my computer and it erased everything I’d written. Since it was late, I didn’t retype and send.

Accept my sincere apologies. I’ll get right on that reply now!

13 06 2013
Shofar

God is GOOD and GRACIOUS; He gave us JESUS, His GREATEST GIFT of all and HE KEEPS ON GIVING! \o/

First thing I noticed were the 12 strings! How blessed you are and I’m sure you have the gift of talent God gave you that goes with it!

This is my guitars’ story http://heulu.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/my-takamine-guitars-3/

~Liz (spotted your blog on my Reader side bar)

13 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

What a great story! I’m glad our Lord invented music. It surely lifts the heart. Thank you for pointing me to it.

In His Majesty’s service,
Tami
\o/
Praise Jesus

13 06 2013
Shofar

What is the extent of your music ministry- are you a solo player/song leader?

22 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Shofar, I’m so sorry for the delay in my response.

Here’s my music ministry run-down: I sing with our worship team on Sundays (rehearsal on Thursdays), solo lead at our home group on Monday nights, equip a fellow worship leader on Tuesday morning, solo lead worship at the mission’s recovery house for women on Tuesday afternoons, and solo lead two or three times a month for the church’s mid-week service on Wednesdays.

In addition, I take voice lessons on Wednesday afternoons.

Due to other ministry involvements and my crazy writing schedule, I do not have time to practice my instrument – and it is showing. If you can discipline yourself to practice guitar for 30 minutes six days per week, you will find it very helpful, and improvement is guaranteed!

I spend time watching Paul Baloche (leadworship.com) on YouTube. He gives free lessons for learning songs he’s written. His website has a wealth of lead sheets, accompaniment chords, MP3s and group arrangements for dozens of songs (also free). Another great resource is Graham Choo. You can find him on YouTube, as well. His site has hundreds of songs with YouTube instructional videos. He’s a wonderful resource for learning different strum patterns as well.

Aside from putting in time, though, we can never hope to improve. Since we are told, “Whatever you put your hand to, do it with all your might,” we must develop the discipline of practice.

Once I get this blogging thing down a bit more, I hope to “upgrade” so I can include some recordings I’ve made of my own songs. That’s probably not going to happen until next fall or winter, though. I’ll probably write about playing guitar sometime in the near future.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. You can also e-mail me at batransformed1@yahoo.com. Then your message won’t get buried in the pile of comments I receive daily!!

22 06 2013
Shofar

Thank you for sharing about your ministry and suggestions for improvement. I will TRY to follow your advice and recommendations to improve my guitar playing. I play entirely by ear and know almost zero about music and tablature, but can pick up a key to play in or follow and play different strumming styles. I have an inferiority complex that is there, though may not show, because my son plays professionally, granddaughter Amber posts her music and singing on Facebook, my husband plays, etc. all have natural talent, except me who still has not moved forward in my musical skills! You can see the places where my son plays dinner music-
http://wendellsmusic.wordpress.com

22 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Have him show you a new strum once in a while. Work on it until you can do it while watching TV or listening to a Podcast. That’s when you know you own that particular strum!

I play mostly by ear. The only instrument I’ve ever had training in is a clarinet. I’ve picked up guitar by watching others, using a chord book, and the rest by guess and by golly! Ask Abba for help. Often we don’t get help simply because we fail to ask!

\o/

22 06 2013
Shofar

You are right! I will make it a matter of prayer! Like my husband prayed that I would get more viewers and yesterday I had the most hits of any day so far this month!
I had good intentions from over a week ago when I set my guitar up on its stand right where I can see it in the living room. Shame on me for I played on it 10 minutes total! You see, I don’t have to play again until our women’s group meets in Sept. Yeah, I should start choosing songs now and start ‘practicing’! Thank you for your words of encouragement! Forgot to tell you that I play ukulele every Friday and in church this Sunday with our group. I will work more on my guitar playing also keyboard and try to start a new painting, the latter when I find a good reference photo!

~Liz

22 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

You sound pretty busy too! Yeah, even ten minutes a day is more than no minutes per day! I tend to do that, too (put off playing until I’m doing something regular).

Have a blessed weekend!
\o/

22 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Oh my! Your son plays on Oahu. I wish I’d known you earlier. I’d have loved to hear him in person. My oldest son & his family lived there for four years. What a beautiful island.

\o/

22 06 2013
Shofar

If you check out his site, you’ll see Hy’s Steak House in Waikiki and his photos. He also plays at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. He just started his blog for those with shared music interests, guitar, jazz, percussions, etc. He loves doing what he loves! http://wendellsmusic.wordpress.com

5 06 2013
Amanda

Your gift from God is the expression of your spirit through the strings of your new guitar. 🙂

With love, Amanda
http://defineyourspirit.com

5 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

What sweet words. Thank you! 🙂 May Grace always be used to express God’s grace to us and to praise His name!

\o/
Praise Him!

3 06 2013
Mikey

What a wonderful illustration of “God’s Grace”. Someone summed it up this way:

His love has no limit; His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

I know you will use your new Martin to uplift and glorify God. Blessings to you … Mikey

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

I so appreciate God’s grace. I’d be in big trouble without it. Love the hymn! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
\o/
Praise Jesus

10 05 2013
cshowers

What a beautiful lesson on God’s grace. I’m speechless.

Love,
Cheryl

10 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

9 05 2013
TeachX3

Absolutely beautiful… touched my heart deeply! I am really looking forward to getting to know you sister! 😀

9 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m glad. Wish you lived nearby. I’d invite you to lunch!
\o/

8 05 2013
Pure Glory

Loved your illustration of grace. It is always there, as you play your Martin. Thanks for sharing! 😀

8 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your comment, and for visiting. I like your blog and can’t wait to read more!
\ 🙂 /

8 05 2013
Pure Glory

You’re welcome! 🙂

3 05 2013
StephenWhoElse

What a beautiful illustration of grace. When we receive something we don’t deserve, it can be overwhelming. Thank you for sharing this truth.
Lately I have been asking “how do I apply this to my life” each time I encounter a bible truth. Perhaps the takeaway for me here is to demonstrate grace to others, blessing them with an unexpected gift or kindness.

By the way, I can SO relate to your post on expectations (God is not disappointed in you) 🙂

God bless you.

3 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Mmm. What good is Bible truth if we have no idea – or desire to apply it.

Thanks for stopping by!
\ 🙂 /

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