GRACE GOES FULL CIRCLE

ewf_beardTHE TWENTY-SIXTH DAY OF JUNE IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.


Jesus-people are generous by nature. Most of them regularly support with gifts of time, talent, and treasure a wide variety of workers and works that they desire to perpetuate, enable and encourage. They give because they love God and in gratitude for his mercy and kindness. Many of us serve God as both givers and receivers. It is possible for us to become so accustomed to this cycle of giving and receiving that we either take it for granted or attempt to explain the process in purely human terms. In fact, it is a divinely-empowered dynamic in which we are privileged to be used by God as agents of his saving purpose.

The process is repeated continuously in both simple and complex forms. The simple form occurs when one believer exercises a grace-gift (charisma) entrusted to him or her by God, and another believer is blessed as a result. Any grace-gift can fit into this narrative. The person who used their grace-gift to bless others gives God thanks for the privilege of doing so. The believer who is blessed also thanks God for that. A more complex form of this process might begin with one believer using a grace-gift to bless another believer. As before, each of them gives thanks to God. Then the person who was blessed uses his or her grace-gift (say, of generosity) to bless the believer whose grace-gift blessed them first. Again they both give thanks to God.

This is not a commercial transaction involving payment for goods or services received. It is something far greater than one person returning a favor rendered by another. It is more profound than a simple act of human kindness. It is the intentional and voluntary completion of a full circle in stewardship to the glory of God, a process motivated and empowered by God himself. This explanation does not lessen the significance of our sacrifice and work. It does not detract from our love for God or our generosity to others. It does place our giving and our receiving in gospel perspective. And, like everything that is properly aligned with spiritual reality, it brings praise and thanksgiving to God.