God, Bank Accounts, and Grace

May 10, 2015

Categories: Grace,Love

At church a few weeks ago, pastor Matt Tuggle talked about how we often struggle to understand that God’s love for us comes without conditions. He gave a cool example that helped me understand this truth in a new way, and I’d like to share it with you.

He used the example of a bank account. My bank account has a limited amount of money in it. So if I were to give you $100, it would subtract $100 from my bank account. Because I have a limited amount of money, I would need to think about how to make up for this loss. I would probably expect you to pay me back. My gift would have conditions.

However, imagine I had an unlimited amount of money in my bank account. Imagine that when I gave away $100, it didn’t lower my balance at all. I probably would be a lot more generous with my money. When I did give money away, I probably wouldn’t expect anything in return. I would give without conditions.

The unlimited bank account is a good picture of God’s love. God’s love is unlimited. When he offers love to us, it doesn’t deplete his ‘love bank’ at all. So it makes sense that He would give his love away freely and unconditionally, not expecting anything in return.

It’s tough for me to understand this truth, because in my daily life I operate out of the ‘limited bank account’ model. It’s hard to make the paradigm shift.

Matt offered two practical suggestions to help us get out of the ‘limited bank account model.’

  1. Give anonymously. Often when we give a gift, we expect something in return. At the very least, we expect a thank-you note. But when we give anonymously, this expectation is removed. As an experiment, practice giving gifts anonymously, not expecting anything in return.
  2. Receive humbly. Often when we receive a gift, we start thinking about what we need to do to ‘pay back’ the person who gave us the gift. This puts us right back into the conditional giving and receiving mindset. Instead, practice receiving gifts humbly. Resist the urge to ‘pay back’ the person who gave you the gift.

Discussion: Do you struggle to receive God’s love without conditions? What is one practical step you could take toward giving and receiving gifts without conditions?

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