September 4, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…
In the first two chapters of Ephesians, Paul paints in broad strokes a picture of God’s saving, unifying work in the cosmos. He concludes by focusing on the people of God, who serve as a unified, holy temple in which the Spirit of God dwells.
Chapter 3 begins in a different vein, with Paul explaining his own mission in light of God’s cosmic work. After noting that he is a prisoner (literally) because of his ministry to the Gentiles (3:1), Paul writes: “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you…” The Greek word translated here as “administration” is oikonomia, which meant “management, arrangement, or stewardship.” Paul sees himself as one to whom God has entrusted his grace, and who is responsible for managing this grace faithfully. Paul’s particular administration meant delivering the good news of God’s grace to the Gentiles.
Though you and I have not been given the exact same “administration” as the Apostle Paul, we have been entrusted with God’s grace so that we might manage it well. In a sense, all that we have has been given to us and is therefore a manifestation of grace, including our life, our talents, our education, our opportunities. Yes, even our families, our jobs, our cultural power, and our financial resources are elements of divine grace. God has given us everything we have so that we might manage it well for his purposes. Therefore, like Paul, you are a manager of grace. Think of that!
Something to Think About:
Do you see your life as an opportunity to administer God’s grace? If so, how did you come to this understanding? If not, why not?
If you were to see your daily work in this way, how might you work differently?
How faithful and effective are you as a manager of God’s grace?
Something to Do:
Look for opportunities today to manage God’s grace by being gracious to others. Then, as the opportunities appear, manage God’s grace faithfully.
Gracious God, thank you for all that you have given to me, for the countless manifestations of your grace in my life. Help me to see my life as an opportunity to administer your grace faithfully, for your purposes. Teach me to think of myself as a manager of grace no matter where I am or what I am doing. May this perspective transform my work, my relationships, my daily priorities. To you be all the glory. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
God’s Grand Plan: A Theological Vision (Ephesians 1:1–3:21)
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.