The Grace Workout?

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of going to the gym, but I’m trying to just keep doing it.

So I go and hit the treadmill for a while this morning. I was listening to Philip Yancey’s book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” It’s so good and challenging. He makes me think a lot. So, as he talks about how modern Christianity tends to be much more accepting of the older brother than the prodigal son, I’m right there with him. Though I have long identified much more with the prodigal, I see both sides of that story in myself sometimes.

But, by this time, I have done my 30-40 minutes on the treadmill and am ready to move to the 30-minute circuit. I go in and set the weight on machine #1. I wait for the light to turn green, determined to get one more rep than I did on Monday.

I knocked out that set and then hurried to wipe down the machine before I move to the cardio step for the first set. As I’m moving on through the workout, I notice two situations that became much more of a workout for me than the machines or the treadmill.

First, I see this gentleman get caught in a conversation trap with a very friendly lady that insisted on showing the scars from her knee replacement and possibly pictures of her grandchildren. She finally stepped away toward where I was continuing my workout to get a paper towel and spray to wipe down the machine she had been using.

Moments later, a gentleman walks in and starts on the wrong end of the circuit. Can he not see that these machines are numbered? Can he not read the sign on the wall? Can he not recognize that I am methodically working through the sequence as prescribed and that he is about to interrupt my routine for his randomness?

I went to the gym to walk & run on the treadmill and to do a strength training circuit. I didn’t go in there for a grace workout.

Of course, you probably want to know what happened, don’t you?

I kind of blew it. I avoided making eye contact with the very chatty lady…and I’m sorry. As she walked away toward the door, I heard that still, small voice asking me, “Is grace just preaching material and writing fodder to you, or do you really believe it?”

I did manage not to scowl at the man who was getting in my way and ignoring the rhythm and not even wiping down the machines after he used them. But I didn’t speak and made no attempt to be friendly…and for that I’m sorry.

I proclaim grace like the prodigal but I work out like the older brother. I write of grace like one forgiven but I disdain those who ignore the rules that I follow like the one who doesn’t really see much need for forgiveness.

John wrote that “from his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1.16) And Matthew records Jesus’ words, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

I really do believe in grace…for me.

May God help me show it to everyone else.

One response to “The Grace Workout?”

  1. A reminder to us all to take the “higher” road! It’s easy to skate through this fallen world without taking the time to examine my deeds and motivations; it’s easy to “do unto others” when what they are doing meets with my expectations/approval. Thanks for the encouragement to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.


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