As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
—I Peter 4:10
We read in 1 Peter 4:10, that we are to be good stewards of the manifold grace of God. As I examine my life, I wonder is this grace truly manifold (multi-faceted) or does it only have single face to it?
We often hear of grace being the unmerited favor of God. While there is an aspect of that in grace, that is still one side of grace where it has brought justification (righteousness credited to us). Is there anything that we have received from God that was truly merited? Is there anything that I have given to God first that He needs repay me? The life that I have was unmerited along with everything else that I have.
As we look at the scriptures, we see that true grace of God (1 Peter 5:12) should flow into so many areas (facets/sides) of our life. It is a help in the time of temptation (Heb. 4:16), strength (2 Tim 2:2), power in adversity and weakness (2 Cor. 12:9), affects my speech (Col. 4:6), help me to live in an understanding way with my spouse (1 Peter 3:7), reign in righteousness (Rom. 5:21) and employed in serving the body of Christ (1 Peter 4:10). Desiring this to be increasingly a reality in my life and our lives.
We see that the apostle Paul was who he was by the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10). Without this foundation, his past failures of persecuting the church (1 Cor. 15:9) or taking credit for the revelations (2 Cor. 12:7) would have caused him to fall into discouragement or pride. We need to remember all that we are in Christ is by the grace of God to keep us falling.
We also learn from apostle Paul that he ministered and committed those he ministered to the grace of God (Acts 14:26). We see he had no entitlement to the fruit of his ministry or desire for recognition of what was accomplished through him. The Spirit (Zech. 12:10) is one of grace (helps in our life and ministry) and one of supplication (causes us to constantly cry out for help lest we are confident in our own strength and past successes that God gave). This is the only way we can continue in humility and have God’s rest on us.
Let us consider the lives of godly men and imitate their faith (Heb. 13:7), without imitating their ministry or calling. Let us also exercise our gift or calling according to the grace we have received. (1 Cor. 3:6, 10), else we will fall under the same mistake as the Egyptians (Heb. 11:29) trying to imitate the Israelites without having the same faith. This could be in teaching where we compare ourselves with another brother who has a gift and grace and we try to imitate the gift instead of seeking to exercise our gift according to the measure of grace God has given us and not compare ourselves one with another (Gal. 6:4). It can be in the area of hospitality, where one sister or family has the grace to host others but if we don’t have the grace we shouldn’t seek to try and do something outside the grace God has given us because that not only prideful (unable to say no because of our pride) but also can cause us to carry a heavy burden for me or my family that God has not called or given grace for us to bear (Acts 15:28)
Paul recognized that the grace God gave him was for reaching out to the Gentiles and Peter for the Jews and he stayed within the grace God had given him (Galatians 2:7-9).
May we experience this true manifold grace in our lives!