1 Peter 4:10:
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (ESV)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (NASB)
“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” (NLT)
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (KJV)
“Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.” (HCSB)
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)
I am not a major fan of the NIV, but I really love the imagery of us “administering” God’s grace. It makes me think of us as doctors or nurses, applying medicine to wounds… others’ wounds and our own…
And I love that God’s grace is “varied”. I’m rolling around some thoughts: does this mean that God’s grace can look different in different situations? Obviously there are some things about His grace that will always be the same– it will always be only from Him, it will always be unmerited, it will always be loving, it will always be available, it will always be unlimited. And we will always have to have our faith conduit hooked up to God in order to “administer” grace ourselves.
I know I’ve needed God’s grace– straight from Him, and extended to me from others.
SO… does this mean that our spiritual gifts are avenues by which we extend God’s grace to others? Obviously the Spirit pours out gifts on us in and because of His grace. Definitely spiritual gifts are necessary for the building of the church, for the health of the church, and for the effectiveness of the church (remember– church is people, not a place). I wonder if God wires each of us individually with certain gift combinations so that we can have different ways of partnering with God to bring spiritual health to one another, too. Varied ways of extending God’s grace.
If we go with the doctor/nurse imagery, this could mean that in some cases when we apply God’s grace to another person, it will be like soothing aloe on a sunburn. Other times it might have the sting of disinfecting a wound. Other times it might be like tying on a tourniquet.
Surely God’s grace is colorful and not just black or white?