When God extended salvation to you he did so by giving you two kinds of grace. One kind was general (given to all), and another was specific (given especially to you).
Here is a biblical example of the first kind, the general kind (saving grace).
- For it is by grace you have been saved …it is the gift of God … (Eph. 2:8)
Here is Paul’s example of the second kind, the specific kind (serving grace) Jesus gave to Paul.
- God’s grace was given to me for your sake (Eph. 3:2)
- this grace was given me: to preach (Eph. 3:8)
- the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus (Rom. 15:15-16)
We are likely more familiar with the term “saving grace” than “serving grace” because of hymns like John Newton’s, Amazing Grace. But the New Testament is filled with serving graces. For instance, the special gifts to the church of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and those individuals (and congregations) given the serving grace of generosity.
“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches … their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2).
One of the marvelous things about God’s giving two kinds of grace is that he always gives them simultaneously. Take, for instance, the conversion of Paul. At the very instant Paul was converted he was also commissioned.
Jesus said, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ … “Then I (Saul/Paul) asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. … I am sending you …’
Could it be the same for you? Yes! The very moment you were called by God you were also commissioned to serve in a specific way and that way can change over time.
You “are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance” for you to do (Eph. 2:10).
Serving gifts are apportioned throughout the church. They are as much proof of God’s love to you as your special serving grace is proof of God’s love to others. Use your specific grace. Develop it. Get good at it. And remember, as you develop what Jesus gave to you when he called you, that your growing “competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).
Now that’s something to Celebrate!