1 Peter 4: 10 - Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
“Grace, like water flows to the lowest part.” – Philip Yancey
As we continue with our series exploring our values, we spend some time thinking about grace. I wonder what you think of when you hear the word grace – perhaps it is what you say before a meal, or maybe it is a word you use to describe someone who is stylish and elegant.
In 1 Peter 4: 10 Peter encourages his readers to serve others “as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (NRSV) We can be confident that Peter is not persuading his readers become more elegant and stylish but rather to live differently, reflecting what they have received in Jesus.
Grace as a value is about what we do and how we act – as we have said before it comes out of a relationship and intimacy with God, the one who defines and reveals grace.
There are a variety of definitions of grace that may help us to grasp what we are called to be stewards of. John Stott defines “Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.” I also like of grace being defined as unmerited favour – I receive what I don’t deserve. It can be said that grace is the opposite of karma – where people get what they deserve. Grace is about what we receive in Jesus because of His love.
In Jesus teaching perhaps grace is best explored in the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32) In it we see grace expressed through the Father, who waits for and greets his returning son, not waiting for an apology, but revealing his outrageous love and grace. I‘m often taken by different characters in the story and allow the story to ask questions of me. At times I feel uncomfortable as I align with the older brother and realise how far I can be from being a steward of God’s grace. As I think about the story it challenges and provokes me to think what grace means and what it means to have it as a value.
To live by the value of grace we must allow ourselves to be caught up in and respond to the grace that is revealed in Jesus and received from Him – let us not stop being caught up in the account of this amazing grace. As we gaze upon and ponder all that God as given to us in Jesus we are called to live lives that reflect that grace – our actions and behaviour are defined by this. Our worship and adoration of our loving and gracious God should impact on how I live and reveal grace.
Living a life with grace as a central value is both radicle and subversive – it says in a world of competition and the survival of the fittest that there is such a thing as a free lunch. Seeing all we have received in Jesus we should seek to live out that grace in what we do and say – we seek to reflect that grace.
Grace transforms how we act and react. If we take grace seriously as a value to live by it challenges and changes how we relate and the way we live – it shows no preference. As we know we have been forgiven and received grace we shouldn’t treat others without it.
As we are exploring these values I hope that you are allowing God to challenge and provoke you. If these values are to be more than slogans we need, as we explore them, to allow them to ask questions of ourselves. How do we express them in our community?
Having received amazing grace – this unmerited favour – what does it look like to live with this as a value, in our homes and communities this week.