Day by Day by Grace
by Pastor Bob Hoekstra
Friday, November 22nd
Exceedingly Abundant Grace for Transformation
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry . . . And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant. (1 Timothy 1:12,14)
The grace of God is "much more" than our sin and our failure. It is "much more" than our personal inadequacy. It is "much more" than our comprehension of it. God's grace is "much more" than necessary to radically change our lives. In the limitless resources of God, there is exceedingly abundant grace for transformation. The Apostle Paul is a distinctive example of this transforming grace of God. The Lord took him from religious vanity into spiritual service.
Paul was grateful for this work of grace. "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." God is the one who puts us into ministry. Consequently, for every arena of service we are given, it is appropriate to express thanksgiving to God. Paul knew his ministry was anchored in God's will, not man's. "Paul, an apostle ((Galatians 1:1). Certainly, man can recognize and confirm our callings from God. "When James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles" (Galatians 2:9). Still, our appointment is from the Lord: "to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Timothy 1:11). Unlike many of us, Paul was told of his calling at the very beginning of his walk with the Lord. "Rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you" (Acts 26:16). Such calling to service becomes a stewardship from, and unto, the Lord: "of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God . . . if indeed you have heard of the dispensation [same term, stewardship] of the grace of God which was given to me for you" (Colossians 1:25 and Ephesians 3:2).
To put Paul into effective ministry, God Himself had to do the necessary strengthening work, as well as making him a man of faith. "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful." God's grace is the bountiful resource that brings about such transformation for ministry. "And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant."
Lord, I know Your word teaches that all of Your children are called to serve You. Work by Your grace in my heart, enabling me, building my faith, and confirming my calling. I want to be a faithful steward of Your exceedingly abundant grace, Amen.