Woman smiling holding sufficient grace heart-shaped rock
Woman smiling holding sufficient grace heart-shaped rock

“Daddy, will we make it?” This was white-knuckle trauma, at least to the eight-year-old daughter riding shotgun. 

But fumes were enough to get dad’s little yellow Chevy Luv truck across that busy intersection and into the gas station lot. Fumes were sufficient to get us to the pump. Like sufficient grace.

Grace enough.

Sufficient.

Do you ever use that word? If I do, it’s as a concession. Because I’m hungry for more. I prefer excess. If a 220-thread count percale is good, a 500-thread count sateen is better. If one scoop of ice cream is good, two scoops are better. A three-bedroom ranch is better than a two-bedroom, so a split four-bedroom must be best. 

Sufficient sounds meager, like barely enough and just scraping by. I prefer words like abundant, lavish and great—at least to describe grace (1 Timothy 1:14, Ephesians 1:8, Acts 4:33). I don’t want sufficient. I want better. I want more than enough. I want the best. 

But sufficient is a grace word. When God answered Paul’s plea to remove his thorn in the flesh, the word the Word chose—of all the possible words and God knows all of the words—the word God chose was sufficient. “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9a).  

Why Sufficient Grace is Good

Because sometimes sufficient is best. More is not always better. What’s best is enough to sustain us today, breath by breath. 

Evangelist D. L. Moody said, A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next six months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God’s store of grace from day to day as we need it.

God’s grace comes breath by breath, like manna and daily bread. It is sufficient both to sustain us and to bring us back for more—to make us depend and keep us connected to our Father. Sufficient grace helps explain how Christians can be both, at once, dissatisfied and content.

This is the unexpected blessing of adequate, of sufficient, of enough. It keeps us coming back to Christ, the fountain of life, the source of all good. It keeps us dependent. Which is to say, sufficient grace keeps us near Christ.

That is why God’s “just-enough grace,” his sufficient grace, is so very good.

What Sufficient Grace Means for Your Time

But sometimes—most times, these days—grace feels like running on fumes in dad’s yellow Luv truck. Still, fumes were enough to get us to the pump. They were enough this week. 

When my son called down Tuesday morning, Mom, I missed the bus. Can you take me? When my colleague’s text came Tuesday afternoon, Can you cover for me after school? When I printed the report in the knick of time, the meeting went long and my run got cut short. I was changing in the bedroom before book club started when the doorbell rang. 

It was mom. She could see. 

I told her how I didn’t have time to prepare for book club or take my walk, and for good measure, to be the friend I want to be, and write the words I want to write.

Then mom told me the truth. She said,

“You always have enough time to do what God wants you to do.” 

I do. 

You do too. Because He gives more grace (James 4:6). Grace like breath, grace like fumes.

Sufficient grace means each and every day, grace enough to draw strength from Christ.

Grace enough to do God’s will.

FWhen have you experienced God’s grace as enough—

like one breath at a time or even running on fumes? 

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2 Comments

  1. I often say when I am running ragged to get things done, “Well, this will have to be good enough,” meaning that I know I could have done better with more time, skill or preparation. But God’s “sufficient” is always enough for my needs, and never needs extra time or skill or tweaking to make it better. And by His saving grace, I don’t have to strive to be good enough for him, either. His grace is sufficient to cover all my sins and forgive me. (P.S. I love the Moody quote!)

    1. Exactly! You summed it up perfectly. “God’s ‘sufficient’ is always enough for my needs, and never needs extra time or skill or tweaking to make it better.” In my life, it is one of the most daily ways I am learning to deny myself, and follow Christ. Thank you, Kathy.

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