Girl Scout Cookies and the Gospel

My three kids love Girls Scout Cookies. In fact, the love them so much, Girl Scout Cookie season is a bit like Christmas at our house, without any of the spiritual benefits that come through Jesus' birth, of course. That being said, though our daughter is a Girl Scout, my wife and I don't buy very many boxes ourselves, simply because, we don't really want them around the house. It turns out Girl Scout Cookies are rather addictive, a bit unhealthy, and occasionally cause one to display uncharacteristic behavior as my children often do.

You see, though we don't buy many boxes for ourselves, we do allow our children to buy a few boxes for themselves with the money they've collected from birthdays or earned doing odd jobs around the house. Unfortunately, though, when Girls Scout Cookie Season arrives, it's rare that all three children can afford to buy the same number of boxes for themselves, meaning someone starts with fewer cookies and thus always runs sooner than the others.

Of course, if we were dealing with cooked carrots or lima beans, one child running out wouldn't be a problem because... the others would gladly share. However, when it comes to Girl Scout cookies, all bets are off Our kids hold on to them like a child at a birthday party who doesn't want to stand at the end of the line because he's afraid he won't get any cake if he does. In fact, just a few weeks back, one of my sons refused to share a cookie with his younger sister, despite having more boxes in the cupboard, for fear he'd run out if he did.

While the prideful part of me wants to blame such behavior entirely on my wife, the truth is, I see it more often in myself, than I do in her. Whether it's money, food, or something else that's important to me, I occasionally hoard the things God has given me as if I'm afraid I'm going to run out. In fact, sometimes, I even do so with His grace, as if there may not be enough.

Needless to say, that's more irrational than my son's concern that he'd run out of Girl Scout Cookies. After all, though it hasn't happened yet, at some point, he will. However, such is not the case with God's grace. It will never perish, spoil or fade. It will never be exhausted. There will always be enough. We cannot out sin God's grace or love, "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:10-12).

In a recent blog post titled, Does Grace Make You Lazy?Tullian Tchividjian wrote this:

"...because everything we need in Christ we already possess, we can take great risks, push harder, go farther, and leave it all on the field without fear. We can invest with reckless abandon because we don't need to ensure a return of success, love, meaning, validation, and approval. We can invest freely and forcefully because we've been freely and forcefully invested in.
The fear of not knowing whether I'll get a return is replaced by the freedom of knowing we already have everything: because everything I need, in Christ I already possess, I'm now free to do everything for you without needing you to do anything for me.
I can now actively spend my life giving instead of taking, going to the back instead of getting to the front, sacrificing myself for others instead of sacrificing others for myself.
The gospel alone liberates you to live a life of scandalous generosity, unrestrained sacrifice, uncommon valor, and unbounded courage.
When you don't have anything to lose, you discover something wonderful: you're free to take great risks without fear or reservation.
This is the difference between approaching all of life from salvation and approaching all of life for salvation; it's the difference between approaching life from our acceptance, and not for our acceptance; from love not for love.

All that is to say, our lack of generosity, and indeed, all our sin, stems from an insufficient understanding of God's grace; for once we realize that God's grace is sufficient in supply and effect, we don't keep it to ourselves like a child who refuses to share their Girl Scout cookies for fear of running out. We give it way generously knowing there will always be more than enough for us too. 

To read more from Tullian or others at The Gospel Coalition, go to http://thegospelcoalition.org/.