Grace and the Gold Medal

My youngest son won a gold medal at his karate tournament last weekend. His first tournament and he wins a medal. A gold medal. He was so excited to have that shiny object placed around his neck! 

He entered the tournament and showed up.

There was no competition in his division at his age group. 

He chose to compete a level up for a chance at winning another medal, but he was guaranteed the gold for his division. Just by virtue of showing up.

Reminds me of receiving grace.

The feeling that you didn't earn it, which is true. 

"Grace is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God to mankind," says Matthew Henry.

There's no formula for grace. This isn't math class where a + b = c. Or, if you do a certain task, then you receive grace. 

There's no rule. If you try hard enough, you receive it. 

You go into the fight, the competition, or the life situation with the readiness and expectation to work hard. You are ready to "give it all you've got" and fight tooth and nail, if need be. 

The question is, "Am I going to be content?" Content when I get the medal without much effort; content when I have to fight hard for it. And I might watch my friend struggle and fight for their gold medal when all I had to do was show up. Next time, the roles may be reversed. I'm doing the fighting; they are just showing up. They get the grace. Content.

These were my son's thoughts, too, as he voiced to me that he just showed up. "It's not like I earned it. There was no one to compete against." True, young warrior, very true. How much wisdom in your 11 years. But sometimes all you have to do is be willing to show up. The medal is still awarded to you. It is yours. It is grace.