God’s grace comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. I’ve noted this before…
Saving grace (Ephesian 2:8-10) is our initial experience of God’s kindness when we trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. “For BY GRACE you have been saved through faith…”
Serving grace (1 Peter 4:10-11) is our resource supplier of God’s kindness when we serve Jesus Christ and those entrusted to our influence. We are to be “…faithfully administering GOD’s GRACE in its various forms.”
Sustaining grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) is our sufficient strength of God’s kindness when, for Christ’s sake, our lives our tested by weaknesses, insults and difficulties.
Leaders must be grace experts (if such a term may be used). As Paul begins his second chapter of this second mentoring manual, he exhorts Timothy about this very matter.
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
What is Paul saying to this young man? Timothy, you are weak. Your timidity, fear, sense of powerlessness is totally appropriate providing you rely on God’s grace. You don’t have to be strong in yourself. You don’t have to ‘have it all together.’ You don’t have to be the ‘omnicompetent’ pastoral leader who preaches likes Paul, leads like Joshua, cares like Barnabas and reminds everyone of Jesus!
Timothy, draw your strength for your life and ministry from Christ Jesus. HE is all you need. HIS HELP is available to you. Avail yourself of it, and model to others an absolute sense of dependence. “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” You can’t earn it, receive it with training or self-effort. You must cast yourself at the feet of the Master and cry out with the hymnwriter, “I need Thee, O I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee, O bless me now my Saviour, I come to Thee.”
Grace strengthened leaders have work to do. They are called to pass on truth to others. Leadership training is not an option but a mandate for their lives. Timothy had received and received and received. Now it was time to give back, to give to others, to reflect the very life ethos of Jesus Christ –“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
I’ve been exhorted recently by the stewardship mindset of my fellow pastoral leaders in other countries, particularly India. They are committed to passing on the truth they are taught. They have such limited resources–no ‘cool’ graphics for their non-existence website, no ‘amazing’ worship team with a soundboard which is ‘state-of-the-art,’ limited training opportunities both formally and informally. But they have JESUS, they have the HOLY SPIRIT, they have ALL that GOD has blessed them with and their sense of dependence upon HIM is palpable. What are they plannning on doing with the small amounts of training we’ve shared? Pass it on. Pass it on. Pass it on. They are on the hunt for reliable men in whom they can invest their lives. Their vision of multiplying leadership is inspiring.
The things I’ve heard them say, in their own language, in the presence of many witnesses, I intend to teach to reliable men, men God has entrusted to my influence who like me and like them are called to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus!”