October 31, 2018 • Life for Leaders
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
The opening verses of Ephesians 4 emphasize the unity of God’s people, a unity founded on the very nature of God and on the core elements of Christian faith. There can be no doubt that God cares deeply about the church and will use the church in his restoring of all things in Christ.
But this does not mean that God overlooks you as an individual. Though God prizes the community of his people, he is not caught up in some kind of groupthink. Rather, God cares for each person. God saves each person. God gives gifts to each person who receives his grace through faith. God enlists each and every one of us in his cosmic work.
Ephesians 4:7 stands in sharp contrast to the previous verses, though it continues to use the key word “one.” Now the emphasis is on each singular individual, rather than that which all Christians share in common. We read, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Christ has given his grace to each one of us. We might be inclined to think Paul is talking about the grace that saved us when we put our faith in Christ. Alternatively, we might remember Paul’s explanation in 3:7 that he “became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace.” As we look closely at Ephesians 4, we’ll see that it is this second expression of grace that Paul underscores in verse 7. He’s not talking about grace that saves us so much as grace that empowers us for Christian service, or, as we often say, for Christian ministry.
As we continue on in Ephesians, we’ll see just how much God values the church and empowers it for his purposes. But, today, we’re reminded that God’s grace is not handed out in mass quantities to masses of people. Rather, through Christ, God gives grace to each individual. Even as God knows you as a distinct person, even as God has saved you through Jesus Christ, so also God empowers you in your uniqueness to minister on his behalf in the world.
Something to Think About:
Do you believe that God has given his grace to you individually? Why or why not?
Do you live as if this were true? Why or why not?
Do you believe that you matter to God, and that God has chosen you for his ministry in the world? Why or why not?
Something to Do:
Ask God to give you his grace in a special way today, so that you might serve someone else in his name. Then, be available and attentive, so that you might minister God’s grace to someone in need.
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of your grace. Thank you for giving this grace not just to your people as a group but also to each one of us individually. Thank you for giving me the grace to put my trust in you. Thank you for giving me the grace to serve you in the world.
May I be filled with gratitude when I consider the grace you have given me. And may I be a faithful steward of this grace as I minister to others for your glory. Amen.
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.