The Abundance of Grace and Favor

There was a restaurant owner whose business had been tapering off for a few months, so he came up with an idea to bring customers back in the door and it succeeded far beyond his wildest expectations. He had been praying over his business for some time and as any Christian business owner should do, he gave thanks to God for answering his prayers and for blessing his business. And as his business continued to recover and prosper, he made sure to show his appreciation for God’s favor through his offerings on Sunday mornings.

But one evening, as he tallied the day’s receipts, it suddenly occured to him that he had completely forgotten to recognize his employees for their hard work. Since his business had turned around, they had been working hard and putting in long hours, and he realized he had been taking them just a little bit for granted. Of course they all got paychecks and the waiters and waitresses made good tips, but he wanted to do something special for them to show his appreciation. So later that week, he called a staff meeting and asked everyone to come in a couple of hours early before the restaurant opened for business.

On the day of meeting, he handed each of his employees an envelope and when they opened them, inside each one was 10 crisp $100 dollar bills. He gave each of his employees a thousand dollar bonus! While everyone else was smiling and laughing and talking about how they were going to spend their money, there was a young waitress who just sat quietly, not saying a word. It wasn’t long before tears started welling up in her eyes. He assumed she was just a little overcome with emotion, so he went over and talked to her. As she began to open up, he soon realized there was more going on with this young woman.

Like the owner, she was also a believer. She’d been saved at an early age, but there had been some struggles in her life that were testing her faith. She and her husband had been married for a few years. He had lost his job recently and had enrolled in a technical school to better his chances of finding a new job. He worked part time when he could, she said, but her job at the restaurant was their sole means of support for the most part. They were getting by, but just barely.

But at the worst possible time, there was an unexpected emergency and they had an urgent need for money they just didn’t have. And they had no clue where it was going to come from. The young waitress told her boss that she had been praying, but her prayers were general in nature. Almost ashamedly, she said had not prayed and asked God specifically for the money she and her husband needed until the night before the staff meeting. When she opened the envelope, she told her boss it was exactly what they needed. She went on to say that while she was certainly grateful to God for the answered prayer, there was a part of her that felt shame for not trusting God sooner. Her boss assured her that she had truly been blessed, not just with the extra money, but also because God had used the trial in her life to teach her that God is still in control and knows our needs. He reminded her of the passage from the sixth Chapter of Matthew where Jesus taught us that our Father knows what we need before we ask.

Overhearing all of this, one of the other employees said, “Now I know for a fact that not everyone who works here is a Christian. What about them? Are you saying God blessed them too?”

“Yes.” the owner said, “When God blessed this business with success, He not only blessed me, but He also blessed her and all of you too, because the grace of God is so abundant, it covers believers and non-believers alike.”

Now I used this fictitious story to illustrate how the grace of God so often overflows onto non-believers when He chooses to bestow blessings on His children. The story may be fictitious, but things like that do happen every day. When God blesses a Christian, his or her non-believing coworkers, family members, and friends often share in the blessing. I heard a true story recently of a business that was doing quite well until a Christian employee decided to leave and go elsewhere. Now that business is struggling. Coincidence? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. But there is Biblical proof that God’s blessings do sometimes spill over onto non-believers. Let’s start with the book of Genesis.

Jacob’s father-in-law Laban did not want Jacob to return to his homeland. It’s recorded in Genesis chapter 30 that he told Jacob, “I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you.” Even though Jacob was still a work in progress at that time in his life, God chose to bless him anyway and Laban understood that God’s blessings had spilled over onto him. So he didn’t want Jacob to leave……ever!

Then there’s the story of Jacob’s son Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt where he was sold to Potiphar, who was the captain of the guard for Pharaoh. In Genesis chapter 39 we’re told: Potiphar realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. To Potiphar’s credit, he was smart enough to recognize that God was with Joseph and that was why his household was so blessed.

Does anyone know who Obed-edom the Gittite was? Judging by his name, he was probably a descendant of Jacob’s brother Esau, but we really don’t know a lot about him. We don’t know if he worshiped God or not. But we do know that when David stored the Ark of the Covenant in his home for a while, the Bible says in 1 Chronicles 13 that the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had.

Just so no one misunderstands, this is not an endorsement for the prosperity gospel message that’s preached by the radical fringes of the Charismatic Movement. But why would God bless non-believers along with His people? It’s very simple. It’s because of His love. Romans 5:8 says God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Sinner or saint, God loves us all the same. Jesus made it very clear that God blesses believers and non-believers alike when He said in the Sermon on the Mount that God makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. That’s shows the abundance of grace! And it shows us that His love knows no bounds!

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