Steward of Grace

| 10 February 2020

“For this reason, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles-assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.”

When I was five years old, I took my first airplane flight with my family from LA to North Dakota to visit my grandparents. I was so excited, partly because my folks let me wear my new Davey Crocket coonskin cap (with a tail). The stewardess on the plane was quick to comment on my special hat and made me feel welcome. I’ve flown dozens of times since and I’m always aware of those who are taking care of us on the flight. Now stewardesses or stewards are called “flight attendants.” Their job is to care for their passengers needs on their journey, providing safety and security.

Paul calls himself a “steward,” or caretaker responsible for the message of God’s grace to the Gentiles. The word stewardship has also been translated as responsibility, administration, management or householder. This last definition is the literal translation from the Greek word Paul uses. A steward is one who was responsible for running a household, including care of the occupants, house and grounds. The word is used nine times in the New Testament.

So, what was Paul a steward of?

He explains to his Ephesian readers that he was given the responsibility to communicate the importance of God’s grace. Everything they (and we) have comes to us by grace. So then, what is grace? There are at least a dozen great definitions of grace. We can see it in all of Paul’s letters.

Three of the best definitions I have found are these:

“Grace is the empowering presence of God that enables us to see who he is making us to be.”

“Grace introduces us to the glorious intentions of God.”

“Grace, like water, flows to the lowest place.”

Paul will go on in this chapter to introduce us to what he calls the mystery of Christ. In short, the mystery is that by God’s grace we Gentiles are fellow heirs of the promises of God and members of the same body of Christ. Amazing! This will be explained in future devotionals. Have you been a recipient of the grace of God? He’s waiting to bless you.

Chip Whitman
Pastor of Care & Counseling