March 28

Extending His Grace, Part 1

I Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” That is a great start, and it works for a quick definition. Yet grace involves so much more. It empowers us to do the will of God, to forgive when it’s hard, to do what would be impossible for us to do on our own—from having great wisdom to building businesses to loving the unlovely.

The grace of God is extended to us in so many forms in so many areas: in salvation, in our spiritual and natural gifts, in our accomplishments, and in our experiences. And as we are called to freely give because we have freely received (Matthew 10:8), we are called to both receive grace and to extend it to others.

How do we do that?

One way is to be like Christ in His sacrificial love. Consider what He gave up: He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8). That is giving up the most for the sake of the least. If He demonstrated that kind of selfless love, and then extended it to us, we are obliged and privileged to extend it to others.

Extending grace involves other-directed sacrifice. Jesus gave up His home in heaven, and all His power and glory, to enter our world of time and space, giving up His rights as God to become a man. Then that man submitted to His parents, committed Himself to 12 men, and finally, gave Himself over to the religious leaders and Roman rulers who put Him to death—and He did it for all for us.

Every gift of time, every act of service, every favor we do—these are reflections of the sacrificial love and grace of Jesus. By deliberately losing something (time, energy, focus, the chance to do something else) so that others may gain, we extend His grace.

If we say we want to be like Jesus, then we need to look for ways we can be like Him. We can’t just say that and then shrug our shoulders, admitting defeat because He is God and we’re not. He lived as a man, drawing on the same power available to us.

No, we can’t leave our heavenly glory and power to come down to earth. We’re already here. But if you’re in Christ, you’ve already received grace upon grace, including the grace of incomprehensible sacrificial love. He gave up power, glory and position because that is what He had.

What do you have? Time? Money? Opportunity? Talent? You likely have much more than you know. Imitate our Lord by sacrificing that for others, and you will be that good steward of the grace of God.

Prayer: Lord, Your sacrifice for me is beyond my comprehension. But I thank You for how much You sacrificed for me and for all You died to save. Let me show my gratitude to you by extending the grace You’ve given me to others. Show me how I can imitate you by forgoing things I call “mine” for the sake of another.

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