2 "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 1:2 (ESV)
When I was in school I went through a phase where instead of asking "How are you?" when I saw the same people every day (and getting the same response every day), I started asking random questions like, "Good morning, where's your dream vacation destination?"
I felt that having the same, friendly yet meaningless, short conversation everyday was sort of lame and ruined an opportunity to show interest and build relationships.
I didn't want these short passings and conversations to be thrown away each day. Somehow I wanted this daily greeting to be used more intentionally.
Perhaps I should have used “grace and peace,” as Paul did. These words carry significant weight, regardless of how often they are used!
Grace is an unmerited, undeserved gift from God. The range is extensive! Common graces that all humans receive are breath, sleep, rain, sunshine, etc. Also, specific graces for believers include forgiveness, salvation, power to change and grow in God, and so much more.
It is grace that saves us (Ephesians 2:8) and strengthens us (2 Timothy 2:1).
Peace is something we all long for in this life – tranquility of mind amidst the chaos, deadlines and pressures of our lives. This isn't shallow, temporary peace, but the very peace Jesus had that enabled Him to live an entire life knowing He would die an excruciating, undeserved death (John 14:27). It is a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
Also, Paul tells us it is important to see where these two radiate from: God the Father and Jesus Christ. Only God is capable of providing grace and peace in meaningful, lasting ways.
With this short sentence, Paul ushers in two qualities every one of us could use more and more of, and he tells us the Source of where to find them. That is intentionality!
Though Paul uses this greeting in all of his letters, it carries more weight and meaning than the many greetings we throw away each day. Using these exact words may seem a tad awkward, but let's not throw away the principle. Let’s find a way to redeem even these minute, seemingly insignificant moments we have each and every day.
Reflect: Do I put much thought into the greetings I have with people (the same people) each day? How could I be more intentional with them? How are grace and peace playing out in my life? Am I needing more of them?