One Act of Grace
26 years ago I made a mistake. A big, expensive, scary one.
I was a brand new employee at the time, having just joined the staff of a major international ministry. The mistake I made involved paper. Not just a few sheets of it. Not just a package or a box of it like you buy at Staples and carry home in the trunk of your car. But the kind that costs thousands of dollars and comes direct from the manufacturer on rolls as big as Volkswagens.
That’s the kind of paper that was needed for the job I was working on.
And I ordered the wrong size. A special size. That could not be returned. Ever.
I found out about my mistake when the burley, brusque director of the production department marched into my office and tossed a sample of the unusable paper on my desk. “Did you order this?” he asked.
Staring down at it, I felt the blood rush to my cheeks as it dawned on me what I had done. How could I have been so stupid? I thought. Here I am the new kid on the block. Nobody in this ministry knows me yet. Nobody has any reason to believe in me and I’ve already proven I’m an idiot.
“Do you have any idea how much this will cost us in time and money?” The director’s voice was rough as a Rottweiler’s.
“Yes, sir, I do.” Tears pooled and I struggled to blink them away before I looked up at him. (Bad enough he had to deal with an incompetent little girl. Don’t make it worse by making him deal with an incompetent crying girl.) “I’m so sorry. There’s no excuse. I made a mistake. I feel so horrible about it…”
The director, impatient with my groveling, interrupted me. “Oh, stop it!” he said, his gruffness giving way to a grin. “Your mistake didn’t knock Jesus off His thone. He can handle the situation. He’ll show us how to use this paper on another job. Everything will turn out all right.”
Sure enough, it did. Now, 26 years later, that paper is long gone. Used up in the work of the God. And everything is fine. Nobody but me even remembers my dumb mistake.
In the meantime, I’ve made more of them. Lots more. Some I knew about. Some I didn’t. But whenever the devil tries to torture me about them, I just refer him to the first phrase of James 3:2. It says, “We all make many mistakes…” Then I remind him of what Lyndon Thomson—a man who turned out to be one of the dearest I’ve ever known—told me that day in my office.
My mistakes don’t knock Jesus off His throne. He can handle them.
Last week, Lyn went home to be with the Lord. His memorial service was yesterday. I couldn’t be there but that doesn’t mean I’m not remembering him. I am and I always will. So here’s to Lyn with love and gratitude for all he did and all he meant to so many of us. Here’s to a man who with one sentence and one act of grace forever touched my life.