A recent gracEmail brought more than the usual number of responses, including the following comment from one reader about gracEmails in general. “I am so glad,” she said, “you write these and send them.”
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Thank you, my friend! So am I. The first gracEmail (then still nameless) sailed into cyberspace seventeen years ago in 1996. My friend Rubel Shelly suggested that I shorten its length from pages to paragraphs and decrease its frequency from daily to something less daunting. Another friend, Daniel Massey, contributed the format for this e-column including the name and a prototype of the “gracEmail” visual brand. Today, gracEmail represents more than a task or a job. It symbolizes more than any hobby or avocation. It is a sacred stewardship assigned to me by our Lord.
Surrounded by important tasks that need doing, we can easily feel overwhelmed and undermanned. In such circumstances, the principle of stewardship both liberates and invigorates. God has prepared the good works he intends for each of us to do (Eph. 2:10). No one can do it all. When God assigns you one or more special stewardships, he also releases you from other such assignments that are not yours. Nor does God abandon you to fulfill your stewardship in your own power. When God assigns, he also provides.
How do I recognize a divine assignment? In the first epistle bearing his name, the Apostle Peter offers three helpful identifiers (1 Pet. 4:10-11). We “serve with the strength God provides.” Even when fulfilling a stewardship is physically exhausting, it is spiritually energizing. We are “stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Our faithful service in word and in deed encourages and builds up others. In all things God is “praised through Jesus Christ.” Because of our faithful stewardship, others give thanks to God. This is what gracEmail means to me. How sweet is that!