Meet Jean Valjean. A just-released prisoner. A vagabond with a past. No room in the inn. Nobody to take him in. Until, of course, he knocks on the door of a bishop named Monseigneur Myriel. Valjean tells the bishop his story and the bishop gives him a seat at his table, feeds him and provides a roof. Valjean, however, just can't wrap his head around forgiveness. It's too much for him. Restless in the still of the night, he proceeds to steal what little the bishop had and rushes out into the dark. He doesn't get far.
Police: "Monseigneur. We have your silver. We caught this man red-handed. He had the nerve to say you gave him this."
Bishop: "That is right. But my friend. You left so early. Surely something slipped your mind. You forgot, I gave these also. Would you leave the best behind?"
I'm not the first and I won't be the last to hoist the story of Les Misérables as one of the best tales of grace ever written. The things that Jean Valjean endures, and builds, and creates, and struggles through are too much to fill a week's worth of devotions. But like us, Valjean had a choice. Believe his accuser and be chained to his past, or trust his forgiver and live a life of victory; choose to stare into the whirlpool of his sin or let another story begin.
This week, we'll begin answering questions like "Who Am I?" and "Has Life Started?" as it relates to the stewardship of health. But for today, here's a question I'd love for you to answer. Are we breathing, living, forgiving, working, striving and training for results? Or are we breathing, living, forgiving, working, striving and training AS as result? One is fleeting. The other, endless. One has limits. The other, limitless.
Isn't it amazing? Grace didn't simply give Jean Valjean the key to his chains, nor did it merely open the jail's door. Grace said, "What prison?"
Welcome to a week of Les Mis.
- Jimmy Peña
For Discussion: After a week off - a week full of ways for me to quantify my need of grace - I felt like revisiting Jean Valjean. Maybe you're in need of a few reminders as well. What does your week look like? What can we be praying for today?