Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I had the privilege of attending the Leadership Summit this year for the first time, at the South Mountain Community Church satellite location. Willow Creek had a small bookstore set up there throughout Summit, and I enjoy book tables. A lot. I spent some time at the book table before finally deciding on a recent book and a DVD set from a previous Summit. I was pretty happy about both, and started reading the book that evening.

The conference had just begun, though, and there was one more book that kept drawing me. During breaks between sessions, I looked it over. Several times. It was well-written and relevant, offering new perspectives and encouragement in an area I'd been wrestling with. But I already had one book and about five hours' worth of DVDs. Did I really need one more? Of course I didn't. It would be useful, of course, but it would not be necessary. I'd survived my whole life without this book; I could be without it and be just fine.

That's when a gentleman approached me, smiled, and told me that book was mine, a complete gift from a perfect stranger. I could take it home, read it, write in it, refer to it later. It belonged to me. I was surprised. I was honored. All I could think was the word "grace," and how this fellow was a living reminder of -- and an active participant in -- God's unmerited favor in my life.

God's grace is unfathomably bigger than a book, of course. But I think He packaged grace that day in one of His people as a blessed reminder of His goodness, and I am thankful.

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