Stewards of Grace

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

I once heard some wise person say, “Whenever God blesses you with material wealth it is not for the purpose of increasing your standard of living but for the purpose of increasing your standard of giving.”

John Wesley, the father of Methodism, said, “Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.” And, he did. By the time that he died, John Wesley had given away everything he had. It was pretty significant. He had made much. Saved much. And gave all.

The verse of the day doesn’t apply only to material wealth. It certainly includes that, but it is much bigger than that. It is talking about everything that we receive from God – our talents, motivations, passions, intelligence, health, relationships, family, etc.

The purpose of God’s gifts is never for personal consumption. It is always for the service of others.

The reason for such service for others is because we are stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. Steward is one who manages resources, gifts, talents on behalf of another. The thing about stewards is that they are given full freedom to use the resources entrusted to them. While there is complete freedom for how the resources are to be used, there is a clear understanding of what and how they are to be used. The resources are to be used for the purpose for which the giver of resources sets.

God tells us to use whatever gift we have received to serve others.

What gifts has God given you? What resources has God entrusted you with? Jot them down. Write them out.

Then consider, how can you use these resources to serve others today? Think and pray. Write down at least three things you will do today to use the gifts you have received to serve others today.

Can you imagine what our communities will look like as God unleashes his stewards of grace all throughout our city!?!?!? Wow. Gives me chills just thinking about it. 

Blessings to you as you serve God’s people.

Key to Living at Peace with All People

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).

Someone is going to royally offend, irritate, and hurt you.

This is not a matter of “if” but “when”. This is a human condition. Because we are all finite and selfish human beings, someone will offend, irritate, and hurt us.

That’s where the verse of the day comes into play.

“Live at peace with everyone.”

That we like. Every Christian should strive to live at peace with everyone.

Easier said than done.

There is probably no other verse with as many conditional clauses as this one.

  • If it is possible
  • As far as it depends on you
  • Live at peace with everyone

If it is possible. As far as it depends on you. There are some people who are just flat out jerks, and there’s not much we can do about jerks. Jerks will be jerks. But, for the most part, the conditional clauses apply because there are very few people who are jerks 100% of the time.

What does the Apostle Paul mean by “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”?

Here’s how we can live at peace with everyone. When you are offended, irritated, and hurt by someone tell yourself, “I know this person is not a jerk all the time,” therefore:

  • I trust that you want to live at peace too
  • I trust that you did not intentionally do that to hurt me
  • So, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt

We have to give each other this space and time. If we jump on each other every time we are hurt, we’re going to only perpetuate the hurt and misunderstanding. Give people the benefit of the doubt. We all need that because sometimes we can be jerks too.

If someone intentionally hurts you, you don’t need them in your life. They are jerks. But, remember there are very few people who are jerks all the time.

Be a people of grace. Be a peace makers.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

How to Live Grateful

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2)

On any given day (particularly prior to Covid), a person has dozens, if not hundreds, of encounters with other people. For the most part, those encounters are either neutral or positive encounters. But it is astonishing how you can have one negative encounter and that single encounter has the capacity to ruin your entire day!

Think about that. Dozens to hundreds of neutral to positive encounters and yet the one encounter that stands out is the negative one.

That is the way it is with us. We don’t have to remind ourselves of the negative encounters. We don’t have to work at remembering them. Problems, negative encounters, struggles just rise up to our top concern without any effort on our part.

Because we are that way, we have to train our minds to be watchful and thankful. God provides us with so many reasons to be thankful for. But our default mode is to allow negative encounters to color our days.

Our text gives us three pointers on how to retrain our minds.

  1. Devote yourselves to prayer
  2. Be watchful
  3. Give thanks

Devote yourselves to prayer. When you devote yourself to something, you prioritize that thing above other things. When you are devoted to the Seahawks, you work your schedule around the game so that you don’t miss the Seahawks. We are told to devote ourselves to prayer. You have to prioritize and make the time to pray.

When you pray, be watchful. Look for the areas where God is at work. Once you start looking, you will see God’s finger print all over your day.

Today, my daughter was out to pick up my son in Dupont. As she was driving, the front right tire blew! I’ve experienced tires that go flat, but I’ve never seen a tire blow out. But that’s what happened to Kailey. The front right tire literally blew out! Thank God she was not on the freeway. Thank God she was in a neighborhood street when the tire blew. Things could have been bad. I found myself complaining about changing my schedule to help her change out the tire, when it dawned on me how amazingly grateful I was that she was not on the freeway.

When you pray, be watchful. Look for where God is at work.

When you pray with a watchful eye, gratitude is the byproduct. When you see God at work in your life, when you recognize the dozens and hundreds of neutral to positive encounters that enhance your day – the grocer who sets out the food so we can feed our families, the church staff who are working behind the scenes so you can have a fantastic worship experience, the teachers who work tirelessly under incredibly challenging situations so our children can learn and grow, the list is literally endless!

When you pray with a watchful eye, gratitude happens.

Devote yourselves to prayer. Be watchful. Give thanks.

Take the time right now to pray, watch, and give thanks. Tell God how much you appreciate him and thank him.