Monday, January 1, 2018

Grace or Gift

Grace or Gift
January 1, 2018
Ephesians 4:7 "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."

In many translations of the Bible, Ephesians 4:7 talks about the gift of grace being given, doled out by Jesus as He deems fit. This is completely true, but not very complete in clarity, as you and I understand the word for grace. For most, grace is a concept similar to mercy or forgiveness, a special consideration of patience and leniency and tolerance. That is certainly what grace means, for sure, but not in this context of Jesus handing out grace. In the Bible grace is a loaded term, similar to the way we might use the word "warmth". Warmth can mean many things, like a hug, or a feeling, or a fire, or an uprising in the soul. Depending on how the author writes the word "warmth" the meaning changes. This is the same with grace. The word grace can be a blanket word for gift or favor, but specifically what kind of gift? Is it the gift of forgiveness or long-suffering in the face of a trial or something completely different?

When the Bible said that Jesus hands out grace it was referring to specific gifts, gifts of skills and abilities owned with permanence by the recipient. If you read the verses following the discussion on the generous grace, the discussion centers around some people being pastors, teachers, prophets, evangelists, etc. The word for grace is the word Charis, and in this context it means gifts of ability, given with favor from the Lord.  It means the Lord has endowed His people with specific abilities. To add further color to the ability endowed, the Bible uses the word, "doma," which has an emphasis on the quality or nature of the gift rather than the gift in and of itself. This can be further described as the specificity of the gift, the thoughtful paring and purpose of the endowed ability with the recipient. Its discussion is purposeful in the skills and abilities handed out, not a random walk, but with planning and design and extreme intent. The skills and abilities given were, and are, with intent to be used, for a place and time, for the benefit of the Lord. Without re-writing Scripture, you could paraphrase the verse similar to this: the Lord has etched you with a generous portion of unique skills and abilities to be used according to His design for your life, ultimately leading to His glory.

The Lord made you perfectly, and for reason, with a purpose in life to fulfill as unique as the pairing of your skills and abilities with your personality, for the benefit of His kingdom. This does not necessarily mean you are the next John the Baptist, so take that pressure off your shoulders. But it does mean you have the responsibility of execution, putting your gift to word on behalf of Him, whatever that looks like and whatever shape it takes. You have to be the best you that you can be, however confused you might be in examining your mix of personal qualities. Your mix, similar to your fingerprint, will only make sense to the Father, and it can only be matched with you. You are you for a reason and the Lord made you this way. Now you get to figure out what you need to do with it, only limiting yourself to His imagination. 

Take some time to discover and evaluate your skills, but only long enough to realize how you are or are not made. Then get to work. Get to work doing whatever it is before you, doing it unto the Lord and He will direct your life. You don't have to figure out the next twenty years of using your gifts, just the next twenty minutes. Then in twenty more minutes you'll only need to figure out the next twenty minutes again. Do not burden yourself with the long term plan. Just as He is generous with your skills and abilities, He is generous with opportunity to put them into practice. 

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ps 139:16, Ecc 9:10, Is 30:21, Eph 4, Col 3:23-24

No comments: