Fuller

Legacy of Grace – Part I

August 19, 2022 • Life for Leaders

Scripture—Acts 6:8 (NASB)

And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

Focus

Stephen is on trial before some of the men of the synagogue. They are stirring up the people, the elders and the scribes and even bringing up false witnesses against him. Sound familiar? Stephen is a threat to those in power. The word of God was spreading. The number of the disciples was exponentially increasing. Even priests were becoming obedient to the faith! In a world obsessed with acquiring and misusing power, they were afraid of Stephen’s grace.

Devotion

Stephen was tasked with other men to serve tables and care for the overlooked Hellenistic widows in the daily distribution of food. Wisdom and the Holy Spirit were needed to discern this grave inequality that left a particular group underserved. It has always made me chuckle that the apostles did not want to neglect the ministry of the word and prayer, so they chose a group to care for the widows. However, Stephen—who was tasked to serve tables—performs signs and wonders, and suddenly finds himself serving a sermon.

Stephen is on trial before some of the men of the synagogue. They are stirring up the people, the elders and the scribes and even bringing up false witnesses against him. Sound familiar? Stephen is a threat to those in power. The word of God was spreading. The number of the disciples was exponentially increasing. Even priests were becoming obedient to the faith! In a world obsessed with acquiring and misusing power, they are afraid of Stephen’s grace.

Stephen, full of grace and power…

We may want to jump quickly to the word “power” and say “yeah, give me some of that!” But wait…
Grace. The undeserved and unmerited favor of God.
Grace. The gift and divine influence on our hearts.
Grace. The one that cares more about the person than the rules and laws.
Grace. The force that withholds retribution and revenge.
Grace. The grounding that helps you stand in the face of those that oppose you.

They were unable to cope with Stephen’s grace, unable to cope against the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking (v.10). Grace was the power that helped Stephen stand in truth. Grace offered him grit for his resistance. We need this great grace!

Reflect

Where do you need God’s grace in your life?

Act

Surprise a friend or stranger with grace. Get creative.

Pray

God of grace, we need your Spirit to fill us with your grace. God of grace and truth, may we champion truth but not at the expense of grace. May we embody grace while not neglecting truth. You wait to be gracious to us and you hope to be gracious through us. May your Spirit send forth your grace to all the places in our hearts and our relationships where it is greatly needed. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Serving the Word and Serving Tables Are Equally Valuable (Acts 6:2-4)


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