Monday, September 27, 2010

Service as a Means of Grace

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
1Peter 4:1

     My view of service as a means of Grace has always been that Grace flows from God, through the servant and into the one being served. In time I came to see that through my service, God's Grace flowed through me into those He sent me to serve as well as flowing back into me from those I served. Those I served in the name of Christ were a means of Grace and a blessing to me. I call this the "blessing of sacrifice."

     I'm guessing these two understandings of Grace are widely understood and accepted. It almost goes without saying that Christians at work in the world are instruments of God's Grace. Anyone who has served Christ has also found the many blessings hidden in their service and sacrifice. How often have we said, "I went there to feed the hungry but they fed me!!"?
    I have only recently come to see a third means of Grace in service to others. Now, I'm certain I'm not the first person to identify this Grace, but, for me, finding it has deepened my understanding of Christ at work in the Church, Christ at work in me, and Christ at work in the world.
     In my morning quiet time today, I read the 139th Psalm. A beautiful song of praise to God for His desire to be in relationship with us. After reading the Psalms several times I literally stumbled on verse 10 in 1Peter 4. In the light of the Holy Spirit speaking to me through the Psalms, I saw the Grace extended to the Church through individuals' acts of service to others. The Body of Christ, the Church, is blessed and affirmed when any of its part(s) serve the world.
     Our individual fulfillment of God's call to service becomes a means of God's Grace to the entire Body of Christ. How can 1 part of the body receive a blessing and it not also be a blessing to the body as a whole.
    As Christians in community we have an obligation to serve the world in order to bring Glory to God and Grace and Blessing to the Church.

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