As important as grace is to the work of God in the life it would be tremendous if we had the power to give it to others, so they too would have the motivation, the energy to do what God wants them to. And amazingly, Scripture tells us that this is our job. We can dispense it, like a manager – we can send it to others.
Let us begin with the words of Peter:
- “As every man hath received the gift (grace, charisma), even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace (grace, charis) of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
We get it, then we manage it as a steward, then we pass it on to others. The gift we are given relates to our “spiritual gift”, our specific role in the body of Christ:
- “Having then gifts (charisma) differing according to the grace (charis) that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8)
We immediately see that grace is given differently to different people. This is the idea of “manifold” – “many kinds of” – in Peter’s statement and “gifts differing” in Paul’s statement. We are given motivation and power for a specific role, a unique job in the church. Things get us excited that do not get others excited in the same way. We see things differently, we can speak to specific problems of others with authority, because God gave us that job.
Paul knew that his unique role in the body of Christ was given as a gift, that it really wasn’t him doing it, but God:
- “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery . . . Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:2,7-9)
And this was quickly recognized by the young church, among those themselves already gifted for specific roles:
- “And when James, Cephas(Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” (Galatians 2:9)
He went so far as to acknowledge that he would be in big trouble if he resisted this grace and didn’t fulfill this responsibility:
- “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” (1 Corinthians 9:16-17)
And, to make a point, Paul tells us that it was this specific “grace” on him that gave him the insight and authority to even tell us about grace giving insight and authority:
- “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
Grace given makes us the opposite of proud. And part of that grace is the specific faith to believe the message He expects us to deliver.
Of course Paul’s grace was for a historically unique role, that of helping complete the Scriptures, but he urged us to realize that we too have such a gift, albeit based on the Holy Spirit enlightening the Scriptures to us instead of creating it. We have a job to do, we have the supernatural tools to do it . . . And no one else can do it. As Paul says in the verse just before the ones quoted:
- “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)
God does not make junk, disposables. When He chooses us for a gift, He intends us to use it. Weakness and relative insignificance and even failures on the way don’t change His mind. Like Jonah He may opt to spank us if we attempt to “wimp out”, until we finally get the point that He really does love us, really plans to use us, will not take no for an answer.