Grace to melt your heart
A short book about the huge and consoling subject of Grace and how it works in practical experience. Grace by Maurice Fullard Smith (illustrated by Nick Butterworth)
Two snowman chat consolingly on the pure white
front cover of this little book.
"He says the grace of God will melt your heart", says the first.
"I reckon it's worth the risk", responds the other…
Nick Butterworth's illustrations add penetrating humour to an
account that is already easy-reading. Maurice never writes inaccessible language.
I should know, because I have read every book he has ever published. Call me
a fan, but I'm also a friend. I first met Maurice in 1969 when I invited him
to speak at a meeting after I read his first book - "Five, five, fifty-five".
The book had won my heart and he still wins hearts with his writing today. Grace
comes across with the power of Maurice's characteristic honesty and thereby
touches the soul. He speaks from experience - often hard experience - and he
doesn't hide the difficult bits…
"I have always been tempted by the opposite sex…"
Now, how many preachers admit that in their sermons?
This book is not like any sermon you ever heard. It doesn't preach, it doesn't use proof texts and it doesn't moralise. It simply tells stories. Each little chapter is a story, or includes several stories, each illustrating how grace works in practise. Grace "can rock the boat". Grace is "learned through experience". Grace "needs the right soil". You can pick the book up at any point and find a thought-provoking anecdote that can be read in less time than it takes to drink a cup of tea. So you can keep coming back for more. Like grace itself, Maurice's book melts your heart gradually, by penetrating the cold outer defences and warming those inner layers of reserve and self-criticism.
"You are alright as you are" is the comforting message of one of the closing chapters and the underlying message of the whole book. Grace, we are reminded, is God's message of acceptance by which he draws us in, recognising that we cannot earn our place in his favour… he gives it away free.
"In the final analysis," Maurice reminds us, "…grace cannot be taught. Grace must be experienced" so it is appropriate that experience is the foundation of this book. A raconteur by nature, Maurice engages our interest and trust and levers the lid off the reader's heart, creating an opening for grace to flow in. Grace is worth the risk and the reading .
©Derrick Phillips 2000
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