I just spent a week outside of Branson Missouri in a spacious timeshare house overlooking Table Rock Lake. Table Rock is a beautiful man-made lake that has approximately 800 miles of shoreline. It is not only enjoyed by the locals and by thousands of recreational fishermen; it has also hosted many professional bass tournaments. If you look at an aerial map of the lake, you can see why it has the potential to hold many, and a diverse variety, of fish. It is also carefully managed by the fish and wildlife commission. Much like the lakes in my area, Table Rock has many branches that weave throughout the landscape. Again, this is why the shoreline covers so many miles. It is also why so many people get to enjoy it. It is accessible from so many locations.
In contrast to this lake are the ones I visited a few years ago in the Boundary Waters wilderness area in Minnesota. The lakes there are more numerous but much smaller. They are more difficult to get to but the ones who make the trek can usually land some great fish that have had very little fishing pressure. Every fisherman longs to travel to that one place where, it seems, no man has gone before.
As I thought about this dichotomy, for some reason I imagined my church and even the gospel of grace found in Christianity. It is either characterized by effort and difficulty, where only a few can gain access or it is described as one where the span of her reach makes her easily accessible to all. Unlike any other religion, Christianity's shoreline moves through every neighborhood. It doesn't take specialized people or equipment to enjoy her waters. The effort to gain access is not made on the part of the recipient but it was made on the part of the One who provided the gift. And that's exactly what grace is called - a gift, freely offered to everyone, everywhere. There are only 2 things one can do with a gift. He can accept it or reject it. Just like it would be a shame to have a house on the lake and never fish its waters; it would also be a shame to be offered such a gift as grace and never reach out and take it.