Being faithful stewards of God’s grace
We close out our week of looking at discipleship through the lens of stewardship by turning in a slightly different direction. Today, we consider what it means to be stewards of God’s grace, that life-giving power of God that enriches the lives of people around us.
The goal of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever embodiment of grace each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Grace is the term some New Testament authors use to characterize the life-giving power of God that animates, enlivens, energizes, and enriches the lives of God’s people and the people they serve.
• Grace is channeled into the world through acts of faithful discipleship embodied in people’s Christlike service of others.
• Each of us is empowered by God’s grace to enrich the lives of other people by being Christ in service to them.
• In the context of this passage and throughout the New Testament, “love” is not an emotion, but the embodiment of Christ in everyday life; here the author of the letter points out that love should be practiced constantly, including gracious hospitality offered to others.
To be a “steward” of this life-giving power of God called grace, a person must learn to recognize the concrete ways that they embody Christ and thereby become a conduit for grace to enter the world and enrich the lives of the people they serve.
• This practice involves disciplined prayer and reflection in a community of faith.
• It is often the members of our community who help us see the many ways we embody Christ faithfully in our daily actions, and the diverse experiences of grace that we channel into the lives of others.
• A good steward manages their resources prudently in order to maintain their fruitfulness in the service of others. To “glorify God in all things through Jesus Christ” means that we glow with the radiance of Christ in the world as we offer our souls and bodies in service to others.
Questions for reflection
• In what concrete ways do you see yourself and your congregation embodying Christ in the service of others?
• In what concrete ways do you see others being enriched by God’s grace as you and your congregation become conduits for grace?
• What disciplines do you and your congregation employ to ensure that you
manage your resources prudently in order to continue as faithful stewards in service to others?
Gracious God, you created the earth and all that is in it and you sustain all things through your life-giving power called grace: help us know the many ways we channel your grace to others, and give us the discipline and wisdom to manage our resources wisely in the household of God so that we may continue our faithful service as your disciples in the world. Amen.