While definitely not the only or the last tangible benefit of practicing the means of grace – love is at the very center. Paul said it clearly that love is the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is the very power that God uses to shape existence for a common good – God’s common good that is and not our manufactured one.
The Bible says that we love not because we can but because God first loved us (1 John 4:19) and has given us this gift of loving God back and others. Just like our revealed faith and hope, love is God’s idea and God’s doing. In no place is it more evident than in John 3:16 which says that for God so loved the world that he gave his only son.
Love gives. Love shares. Love risks.
And that is what you and I receive as we practice the means of grace in Lent or any other time. The desire and ability to give, share and risk for the benefit of others grows in our lives.
And it is through gratitude that all of these gifts (faith, hope, love) are installed into our lives.
Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts he has in store for us, because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Life Together
I am convinced that if we will boldly ask and gratefully accept then we will see these gifts blossom in lives.