Thursday, September 20, 2007
The apostle Paul writes to the believers in Ephesus: “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…”
Some time ago, I got to thinking: “Jesus gave Paul a charge: to administer God’s grace to others. Now, what on earth does that mean?”
Administrators do many things. In many instances, they are put in charge of allocating resources (human, financial, logistical, or technical). The point is: they “hand out” those things that people need.
In the same way, God gives ministers a task: to administer God’s supply to others. Specifically, in Ephesians 3:2 Paul tells us that God wants ministers to administer grace to others.
Put another way: our job is to hand out grace wherever we go, to spread grace to everyone we meet.
But, unlike all other administrators, there is one big difference: in human affairs, supplies are limited, so resources are often doled out in sparing quantities. In God’s economy, grace is without limit, abundant and free, so we need not skimp in doing our job.
And this is convicting to me, because often I treat God’s grace as if it’s limited.
For one, I limit the amount of grace I allow God to give me. I think, “Surely God has had it with me now. Surely I’ve tried God’s patience so much that he’s going to stop forgiving me now.”
But, God will never stop forgiving me. God’s patience is without limit. God’s grace is measureless. Why else do you think Paul attaches these descriptors to God’s grace and love? “Incomparable”. “Immeasurable”. “Riches”. “Wide”. “Long”. “High”. “Deep”.
Let those words sink in, my friend. God will never give up on you. God will never stop loving you. Never. God’s grace is more than enough.
In light of that, why is it that I also treat God’s grace as if it’s limited towards others? I mean, if God never gives up on me, why do I too often give up on others? Why do I so easily lose patience and hold grudges and stop caring? Either God’s love is without limit or it isn’t. If it isn’t, why do I treat it as unlimited towards myself, but limit it in my expression to others?
“God, help me to be an administrator of your grace. Help me to hand out your grace to others as freely and as liberally as you give it to me. And help me to see that the grace I hand out is not mine; it’s yours. Remind me that I’m just a steward of your grace, a servant of your love. And remind me that being a steward of your grace is a grace in itself. Remind me that it’s a privilege, not a right. Help me to live as if administering your grace to others is the most rewarding task one could ever hope to do. Amen.”