Names have been changed to protect the graceful.
Don was a thief, a sneaky so-and-so with a penchant for pastries. Every day he came into the soup kitchen and stole desserts.
The ladies who served the meal at the counter watched him like hawks, but inevitably, they would turn their backs for a moment, and Don’s deft hand would swoop across the counter, and the tasty treats were absconded.
Each day, they served a simple, but entirely free, meal to the homeless and the helpless. And each day, Don stole an extra portion, or two… or three, of dessert. It didn’t matter if it was brownies, cookies, cake or pie. Don always got more than his share.
“Don, you can’t do that! It’s not fair to the other guests!” they told him. But it didn’t matter. His hands were swift and his tooth was sweet, and he would have his brownies.
But the ladies in the serving line had had enough.
“We have to do something about Don. He can’t keep stealing desserts like that,” they said. “We shouldn’t let him come back if he’s going to keep it up. We need to do something.”
And they furrowed their brows and hoped for a solution.
The next day, they saw him approaching the food line. A communal scowl came across the faces of the stressed-out servers. They knew what was about to happen. His fingers twitched in anticipation even as he smiled to the ladies behind the counter. Scornfully they scooped lunch upon his plate, waiting for his pilfering fingers to pounce. At the end of the line sat the brownies, tasty and waiting.
And sure enough, in a flash, Don had doubled his dessert. Rage rose in the faces of his beleaguered benefactors. But before they could shout shame upon the brownie thief, something happened.
Lois happened. Or Jesus happened. Or both.
She had a flash of inspiration. “Don,” she said. “Hold on for a minute. I have something for you.”
Don froze, tray in hand, at the end of the food line as Lois disappeared into the kitchen’s walk-in cooler. A moment later she emerged, smiling a generous smile, and holding in her hands a giant chocolate cake.
“I know you have a sweet tooth,” she said. “so I wanted to give you this.”
A look of surprise and confusion came across his face. “Really?”
Don reached out, and those thieving fingers held a plateful of grace. Tasty, chocolate grace.
“Thank-you,” he said. “Thanks a lot.”
Lois smiled. “You’re welcome.”
Don found a seat, and ate his meal, and his eyes gazed upon the cake as if it was a holy relic.
Don, and his sweet tooth, came back the next day.
He didn’t steal dessert.
“But I say to you, if someone steals your brownies, give to him also your cake. And as you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” -Luke 6: 29, 31 (paraphrased)