Are you familiar with the jicama (HEE-kuh-muh) plant? It is sometimes called the Mexican turnip or yam bean. A tuberous, edible root vegetable, it may be the perfect snack having only 2 calories per slice and low sugar and sodium content. It is also great in salads with a crunchy texture like a firm pear or raw potato. One can add some lime or lemon juice to further enhance the taste. The only drawback for me is the very hard task of removing the thin, tan and tenacious skin.
As I tried to peel one recently I began thinking about works and grace and why that trips up so many people who desire salvation. After spending so much time peeling the jicama I felt as if I’d earned the right to enjoy the results of my labor. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time must have felt the same way about their salvation. They did many “good” works and obeyed most of the Old Law plus added their traditions. Jesus could not convince them that salvation is by “…grace through faith.” (Eph 2:8-9) Perhaps we could say that he was offering an already peeled plate of fresh jicama or maybe fruits that can be eaten without removing the skin, such as berries, apples or grapes. It is amazing that anyone would reject this free gift in order to work so hard to peel their own vegetable or fruit.
The only stipulation for the free gift is that we tell others about it and share it with them (2 Cor 5:20). We should also be willing to peel a “jicama” for others to enjoy (2 Tim 2:15). In order to do this in love, we must sometimes peel back the layers of our own ego. After all, we are working OUT our own salvation, not working TO EARN our salvation (Php 2:2) (Eph 2:10).