A Gracious Life

I had a friend that wrote in a thank you note, "Thank you for the gift, I graciously accept it."

That has always cracked me up!

Graciousness is not a sought-after characteristic in our culture and in some ways, it's not even a concept that we're familiar with.

For most of us, the concept is embodied by a gracious host - refilling drinks, stocking towels and blankets, and cooking meals for a guest.

I think that being gracious is actually more than that - it's an attitude and a way of life.

Growing up, I learned that being gracious means making every effort to make everyone around you feel comfortable and at ease. It can take so many forms - joking with someone who is shy, complimenting someone who is self-conscious, inviting someone without many friends to a party - each situation requires a different approach.

Gracious living is the opposite of selfish living. To be gracious, you must be aware of the people around you and sensitive to their feelings. You have to be compassionate enough to care about their needs - to see them as Jesus sees them.

To be gracious, you take the focus off yourself and put it completely on others. You constantly ask yourself the question, "What can I do to make the people around me more comfortable?"

If you make graciousness a lifestyle choice, you put so many Biblical principles into practice:

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." Colossians 4:6

" . . .serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13

" . . .as far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Hebrews 12:14

" . . .love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39

" . . .consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3

" . . .look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

"Be kind and compassionate to one another. . ." Ephesians 4:32

" . . .love one another." John 13:34

There is another by-product of living a life of graciousness - people want to be around you.

Of course they want to be around you - for some reason they feel so at ease around you! [For Twilight fans, this is your chance to be like Jasper!]

Not only does this mean you make a lot of friends, it means you get a lot of opportunities. People will start to notice that you are different. People will start to get curious. Because of your gracious lifestyle, people will want what you have. And that's your opportunity - to say, "I'm just like you, except I have a relationship with Jesus and every day, I try to be more like Him."