For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for 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.
(Ephesians 3:1-3 ESV)
Paul actually starts praying for the Ephesians in verse 1 but immediately gets sidetracked into explaining more biblical truth. His prayer will resume in verse 14.
Yesterday we learned that Paul was in prison awaiting trial for his life on behalf of the Gentiles. It was not Roman or Jewish authorities who put Paul in prison. It was God Himself who had a reason for Paul being there. That reason was seemingly to write letters that became part of the New Testament (as well as to be a witness to those he came in contact with).
God had a purpose for Paul’s life – to be a steward of God’s grace to and for the Gentiles [Acts 22:21]. The Greek word translated “steward” is οικονομια (pronounced: oy-kon-om-ee’-ah). It means “administration of something that belongs to someone else”. If an accountant is hired by a family to manage their money, she would be a steward of their finances – managing what they own.
This is the way God has always worked. The first man, Adam, was told to “rule over the earth” [Genesis 1:28]. The earth belongs to God. But man has been charged with taking care of it. In the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gives responsibility for teaching others how they can be forgiven of their sins to His apostles (and by extension, to us). Peter was given the responsibility of taking the Gospel message to the Jews [Galatians 2:7].
God has a job for every one of His children. In general that job is to tell of God’s grace and forgiveness to those we come in contact with. We are stewards of His grace too, just like Paul, and God expects us to take the message of that grace to the world around us.
Once a person becomes part of God’s family his/her life is no longer about themself. We now live for Christ. To that end everything we do should in some way promote His kingdom. Sitting around watching television won’t do that. Neither will working unnecessary overtime.
Believers will not face eternal judgment from God but our lives will be evaluated for how well we stewarded God’s grace on this earth. Hopefully we hear God call us a “good and faithful servant” [Matthew 25:14-30].
The reason I am forgiven of my sins and am part of God’s eternal family is because someone else cared more about my eternity than he did about his own earthly comfort and told me about the good news of Jesus. Otherwise I’d still be an unforgiven sinner headed for a dreadful eternity in hell. There are still many people out there who need to hear this good news.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.