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The Heart of the Gospel

August 16, 2021

When I was a young girl, I stood by my mother at the kitchen sink and watched her as she separated stalks of celery, washing each piece before she gave it to us at supper. She taught me that there is a part of the celery stalk that has a sweeter taste than the rest of the stalks. When all of the stalks are pulled away, there lies within the celery a beautiful surprise. It’s called the heart of the celery, and it has a deeper, sweeter taste than the rest of the celery.

As I stood watching, she always handed the heart to me because she knew I loved that particular part. And, to this day, I think of Mama when I pull out the heart and enjoy its full flavor.

When I pull away the many meaningful parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ – love, peace, kindness, joy, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – there is at the center the heart of the gospel, a sufficient nourishment around which all these parts of the gospel live. That heart is called grace.

I have been blessed so many times by the grace of God, that undeserved kindness and favor that came to me when I didn’t do anything to deserve it. Grace has guided me, led me, held me, and pointed me toward better days. Grace has surprised me, challenged me, helped me, and shown me how to move forward from one situation to the next. Grace is the heart of the gospel message, and because it is free, I can take grace into my spirit every day, many times a day.

God’s grace is sufficient, and we are allowed the awesome privilege of receiving the very sufficient heart of the gospel every day.

The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at

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