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Unscrooged Hearts

An Encouraging Word from Max Lucado

Some people resist the change. The ungrateful servant did. In the story Jesus told, the servant owed more money to the king than he could ever repay. Try as he might, the man couldn’t make the payments. He’d sooner find frogs in the clouds than he’d find cash for the debt. “So the king ordered that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. But the man fell down before the king and begged him, ‘Oh, sir, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then the king was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt” (Matt. 18:25–27 NLT).

The man made a beeline to the house of a person who owed him a few dollars. The just-blessed will become the quick-to-bless, right? Not in this case. He demanded payment. He turned a deaf ear to the fellow’s pleas for mercy and locked him in debtors’ prison.

How could he be so scroogey? Jesus doesn’t tell us. He leaves us to speculate, and I speculate this much: grace never happened to him. He thought he had bamboozled the system and fleeced the old man. He exited the king’s castle not with a thankful heart (“What a great king I serve!”) but with a puffy chest (“What a shrewd man I am!”). The king learned of the self-centered response and went ballistic. “You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?” (vv. 32–33 NLT).

The grace-given give grace.

Is grace happening to you?

How long has it been since your generosity stunned someone? Since someone objected, “No, really, this is too generous”? If it has been a while, reconsider God’s extravagant grace. “Forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity” (Ps. 103:2–3 RSV).

Let grace unscrooge your heart. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).