The Trouble with the Transaction-based Social Economy..and Grace..

I give you something, I expect something in return.
You give me something, and I expect to pay you.

It’s the economy in which we live and operate.

I’m at Walt Disney World right now and I have learned A LOT about our economy and “fair” trade. Basically I give the park money and in return they allow my family to ride their rides and experience their parades and shows. And Disney is freaking expensive. So, as the level of investment goes up..so does our expectation levels. This is natural, especially in the capitalistic society in which we live.

Isn’t this true for you?

  • When you give the Starbucks barista five dollars, you expect a great cup of coffee.
  • When you pay for a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, you expect to get a prize inside.
  • When you pay your rent, you expect everything in your apartment to work properly.

And this same economic transaction plays out in social settings as well.

  • If you ask for help when moving to a new house, you can’t very well tell your friends “no” when they need help moving.
  • If you ask a co-worker to cover your shift so you can go to your kids ballgame, you can’t tell him “no” when he asks if you will work for him so he can go see his daughter’s ballet recital.
  • If you borrow your neighbors chainsaw, you can’t tell him “no” when he needs to borrow a rake.

And the best example of this transaction-based culture is in the workplace.

  • We all expect to get paid an honest wage for what we’ve done.
  • Heck, in profitable times we may even “expect” a raise or a Christmas bonus (even if we don’t say so out loud.)
  • And of course for it to be an honest transaction, the boss-man expects you to put your time in to get that paycheck.

We all expect something when we give up something.
We all deserve a fair wage.

But where then does a gift come in?

True gifts are rare in a transaction-based financial and social economy. A true gift is free. It is given away. The giver expects NOTHING from the receiver. If they did, it wouldn’t be a gift. And the inverse is true..the receiver can’t EXPECT the gift or it taints the gifting. It isn’t fair. Gifts never are. Gifts are one-sided transactions.

And that’s why I think we have such a hard time with grace.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

See, our wages (or what we have earned and deserved) is death..
but God gracefully offers us eternal LIFE..
and it’s FREE..
a GIFT..
we’ve done nothing to earn grace..
it’s been given to us as a gift..
And the crazier part is, we often feel like we now OWE God something..our money, our Sundays, our time..but none of that could REPAY Him.

He has given grace to us, because He loves us. End of story.
Shouldn’t it be normal for us to show grace, too?

If there are people you love today..will you show them grace..and expect nothing in return?
If you are the person needing grace..He gives it freely..stop trying so hard to earn it or repay Him..He did it because He loves you.

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