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Amazing Race Grace
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It was Tuesday night and time for my favorite television program, The Amazing Race. But instead of a dozen teams of two people each, the teams were made up of four members of a family. A few of the teams had a mother, father and two small children – which was a liability in this game of strategy and sometimes strength as they negotiate their way around the country. Some of the teams were siblings and a couple of the teams had one parent with three children.

During the weeks of the show, there’s an opportunity to get to know the contestants and choose favorites that you hope will win. It’s also easy to spot the ones you hope don’t win.
Early on, I began to notice the Weaver family from Florida. There was Mom, Rebecca (19), Rachel (16) and Rolly (14). The father had been killed during an accident at the Daytona International Speedway two years before. My heart went out to them during the contest when it landed them at motor speedways. Their tears of grief were hard to ignore. Something else made them stand out. They talked often about their faith and the fact they were Christians. It’s always great to hear that during secular programming. But it wasn’t long before I hoped they’d stop waving their faith banner. They became an embarrassment. And I wasn’t the only Christian feeling that way.

An article written about Amazing Race 8 Family Edition had this to say about the Weavers: “Once the Weavers showed up, roughly 16 million Christians of all denominations, when questioned about their faith, paused, looked awkward, and said ‘Ummm... I just converted to …’”

Of course, it wasn’t that bad, but there was certainly nothing to be proud about. Sure they prayed -- sometimes to have their teammates fail, but most of the time that they would win the race. They lied, they cheated, they made fun of fellow teammates and then when they were shunned by the other members of the race who had felt their unkindness, they said it was because they were Christians and they were being persecuted. I wanted to reach into the television and give their Mom a little shake.

Healthy Trees--Good Apples

Jesus knew some Christians just like this and talked about them in Luke 6, the same chapter that contains the Golden Rule. He said, “You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.”

OK, I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve done everything that the Weavers did – of course, not on national television. So what am I fussing about? The whole thing gave me a wake-up call. As disgusted as I was at the Weavers for announcing they were Christians and then ending up being “wormy apples,” I’m wondering if my coworkers, friends and family think I’m a little wormy, too? Instead of focusing on this poor family from Florida, I’m taking a look inward. I’m not naturally honest, long-suffering and kind. In fact, I could probably give the Weavers a run for their money in the nasty department.

There’s only one way I can run a clean race and it’s through God’s grace. A good definition of grace is “God's life, power and righteousness coming to us, the undeserving, as a gift.”

It is through grace that God works effective change in our hearts and lives. God's laws don’t have the power to make us what we should be. It takes God Himself, working in our lives, to make us what we ought to be. I want to run that race. I don’t even have to be the first one across the finish line, but I do want to be in the running and through my example, I want to be running the race with people who have seen God in me by His grace. It’s God's grace that gives us the right words and the right way to communicate those words. It’s God's grace that actually spreads through us to work in those that are hearing and receiving the gospel.

“Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise" (2 Corinthians 4:15).

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By Dee Reed. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ®.

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