BY DAVE STEEL
"Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun." This classic jingle detailing the ingredients of the McDonald's Big Mac has been lodged in my memory since I was a boy. Four decades later, it still makes me hungry.
You don't have to be a fan of the Big Mac to know that it's the special sauce that made this a culinary classic. Perhaps you've seen the McDonald's signs boasting "over a bazillion served," or something like that. How did that happen? Special sauce, that's how.
In fact, the term "special sauce" or "secret sauce" is becoming the common shorthand for "the thing that helps someone or something flourish."1
So I'd like to suggest that there's a "special sauce" when it comes to following Christ.
Spiritual disciplines may help us get a grip on things, a bit like the Big Mac's sesame-seed bun. But without the special sauce I'm referring to, there can be no flourishing.
The special sauce in discipleship is something the Bible calls God's grace. Whenever we hear this term, we often think of God's forgiveness. And it's true that God's grace is the basis for our forgiveness. But the grace of God is much more than that. Think of his grace as the source of every blessing we ever receive, the enabling power behind every positive step we ever take on our journey with Christ.
When the apostle Paul was at the end of his rope, Christ told him, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor. 12:9). And when the apostle Peter wanted to offer a parting blessing to the believers he loved, he said, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
God's grace is always a gift, always sufficient, always necessary.
Charles Spurgeon put it this way:
Every good thing that is in a Christian not merely begins but progresses and is consummated by the fostering grace of God, through Jesus Christ. If my finger were on the golden latch of paradise, and my foot were on its jasper threshold, I should not take the last step so as to enter heaven unless the grace which brought me so far should enable me fully and fairly to complete my pilgrimage.2
So thank God for his grace. Savor it. Rely on it. It's the special sauce that makes following Jesus so satisfying. Without it, there can be no flourishing.
2. Charles H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons Preached and Revised by C. H. Spurgeon, vol. 15 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1908), 291.