:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Before we move from the distinguishing grace's to the differing gifts i want us to pay close attention to the words used in our verse today. Prayerfully this verse will settle in our hearts and be a antidote for pride. The word grace and the word gift are both understood as something that is bestowed upon us at no cost and with no merit of our own. Possibly the best definition of grace that I have heard was a story someone told me years ago to illustrate the meaning of grace. Imagine a man broke into your house and killed your only child. If justice was served you would capture that man, take him to the authorities, they would judge him in a court of law and he would be put to death for the laws he had broken and the harm he had done. Mercy would be if you found that man and forgave him and he never met the punishment prescribed for the laws he had broken. Now, grace would be if you found that man, showed him mercy by forgiving his crimes but you go beyond forgiveness to actually loving that man, so much so, that you move him into your home, he now sleeps in the room where your child slept, he wears the clothes your child wore and at dinner time he sits at your childs spot at the table and eats the portion your child would have eaten. That is grace, and that is precisely what God has done for us. It was our crimes that nailed Jesus to the cross, it was our inequity that was laid on him. True God forgives us, but He goes far beyond forgiveness to loving us as He loved Christ, We are his children, we are clothed with His righteousness, we are fed from the store house of heaven. O what Grace he has bestowed upon the very ones who brought about the death of His only Son. God's grace is offered to every person who will believe on Christ. Grace is where Justification and mercy meet together. The two, at first, seem like oil and water, never mixing but Justification was not forsaken to show mercy, Christ took our punishment and fulfilled justification that he might bestow upon us his righteousness. He who had no sin took our sin and paid the penalty so that He could give us who had no righteousness his righteousness. Grace was and is a free gift given to all men who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and his grace hath appeared to all men.
Now gifts that are spoken of here in our verse today are the gifts given to believers. We all have those distinguishing grace's mention in the previous verses but every person having his or her own differing gift. The definition of a gift is quit simply something that you receive from someone else without merit or payment. God has done precisely that within the body of Christ. These gifts are usually tightly interwoven within our differing personalities. We have soft spoken kind hearted brethren who are essential to the body of Christ. We have rougher more outspoken brothers and sisters who are equally essential to the body of Christ. One will serve as a comfort and solace in times despair and the other will serve as a prod and whip when we begin to grow cold and entertain harmful thoughts and actions. Then there are the offices he mentions in verse eleven. He gives some men authority to lead men, He gives some the patience to pastor a flock and some he gives the intellect and interest to be a teacher. Each of us have had bestowed upon us our differing gifts. I think of the ministries God gave to the different Apostles, Paul was given a very public ministry and God gave him boldness to stand before rulers and grace to live in prison cells. John, His most beloved Apostle, He gave a very private ministry, caring for the mother of Christ and leading a small flock. How awful it would have been had John try to operate outside the gift God bestowed upon him. Could you imagine your Bible without the books John authored? Or if Paul tried to live a quiet secluded life and we never got Romans through Hebrews? Each one having very different gifts and ministries brought to the body of Christ what God had given to them. Now if God has given you a quiet ministry and blessed you with a reserved spirit then thank God for it and bring to the body of Christ what he has given you. If God has given you a very public ministry and blessed you with the grace to stand before thousands then thank God for it and bring to the body of Christ what God has given you.
In closing I want to emphasize that whether we are talking about grace or gifts they both are given. We need not to become prideful over something that wasn't ours in the first place but was bestowed upon us as a gift and a grace. Some who have received private ministries sometimes become jealous of the men who God has given public ministries. Men in public ministries sometimes become weary of the crowds and wish they could retire to a more private ministry. The best thing for you and for the body of Christ is for you to serve in your field with your gifts and thank God for the Grace that He bestowed upon us all.
According to the riches of His Grace!!