1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
I have long used this verse and the one following in talking about spiritual gifts, appropriately enough, but what strikes me at the moment is the awareness that God’s grace takes various forms. It’s not just that spiritual gifts differ, it’s that God’s grace itself looks different to different people at different times. Sometimes it’s “tough love,” sometimes it feels like a bed of rose petals with no thorns. God is not a “one size fits all” God! The thing is, we seldom have the wisdom to know what is the right form at any given moment. That’s why we have to stay humbly listening to the Lord at all times, in order to administer God’s grace faithfully. (The Japanese says, “being a good steward.”) If we are honest with ourselves, we can look back over our own lives and see how widely differing circumstances were all expressions of God’s grace toward us. When we have that understanding we can see that we aren’t always to do the same thing in every situation. If we tend to do that, it probably means we’re in a spiritual/emotional rut we need to get out of. Some things, such as love, need to be constant, but even there the expressions aren’t going to always be identical. God is big enough to handle it all, if we will listen to Him!
Of course this applies to me as much as it does to anyone. Right now I’m in the very unfamiliar position of recovering from a broken wrist, making it unwise for me to do a number of things I used to do almost automatically. That too is God’s grace to me, and to those around me, forcing me to ask for and receive help when I’m very used to being a do-it-myself kind of guy. Even such simple things as typing these notes has changed, half of the time typing feely as I’m used to doing and half the time typing with one hand while resting the injured wrist on a cooling pad. That makes me think more about what I’m writing! This morning I will be counseling a couple who will have their wedding next month. I know nothing about them. They may well have been legally married for some time, with one or more children, or they may be a genuinely new couple. I need to be sensitive to the circumstances and not just give them a “boiler plate” lecture. They are individuals, and God has His individual grace for them, which He desires to pour through me. I indeed need to be a good steward of what God has poured into me, for the blessing of those around me and for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. You are doing so many things all around me! Help me not get bogged down trying to figure it all out, but rather be flexible and responsive to whatever You want me to do or say at any given moment, so that Your will may be accomplished for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!