Grace is a big deal. A mighty God gave us grace and we sometimes give grace to others. As minister’s wives we are expected to be experts at grace. We give our husbands grace, we give our children grace, and we give the not-so-friendly church members grace, right?
In Christine Hoover’s book, “From Good to Grace,” she does an excellent job of comparing, what she calls, “the goodness gospel,” and actual grace. Chapter 8 focuses on the action of giving grace. Let’s be frank – it’s a lot more fun to receive grace than to give grace.
Christine says many times in this chapter, “In Christ there is unity but no uniformity.” We are leaders in ministry and/or married to ministers but we do not do it all the same way. If you have ever been to a minister’s wife conference or breakout group at a conference you quickly pick up on this. Christine later links this directly to our spiritual gifts saying, “The spiritual gifts He imparts are gifts of grace, and the fact that they are individual and specific to each person is also a gift of grace.”
God created us all uniquely but He still calls us to one common goal: grace. Christine uses Peter as the poster child for grace when she identifies his progression of grace:
- Christ gave grace to Peter after His betrayal.
- Christ called Peter to give what he’s received, in his “Do you love me, feed my sheep” conversation found in John 21: 15-17.
- Christ gave Peter a specific way to respond to what he’d received. When Jesus predicted Peter’s difficult death Peter quickly inquired “But what about John?” (John 21:21). Jesus quick response to Peter’s comparison indicated that all of us have unique ways to respond to his grace.
He does the same for us everyday. The same God that gave Peter grace gives us grace as well.
“If we live according to the goodness gospel, we will respond in comparison, competition, pride, self-condemnation and jealousy. We will speak and teach the law, bringing other people into bondage alongside us.” THEN “We aren’t able to give away God’s grace because we are looking to receive from others what we should be receiving from God—love, approval, acceptance, belonging and guidance.”
Christine uses the phrase, “living in grace,” and describes it by saying, “When we live by the grace of Christ, when we run with reverence and joy for the race He has marked out for us, we show the beauty of the gospel.” And later, “We miss grace entirely if we think we are the end of grace, as if the beauty is in our own uniqueness or our own freedom…Our goal, remember, is to follow our Conqueror, diffusing the fragrance of His grace.”
Joy is the topic that this chapter concludes with because what is grace without joy? Christine sums up joy by saying this:
“So whatever you’re doing—homeschooling, event planning, cake baking, medical research, substitute teaching, diaper changing, coaching, putting words into the world, or, yes, running a small boutique—do it with joy as unto the Lord. Don’t look for appreciation from others or a spirit tunnel at the end of the day as an indicator of whether or not you’re on the right track. Look to God, who created you to be a creator that flings tangerine passion and joy into the world. He is smiling as you do what you do for Him.”
Then this reminder:
“Grace turns our eyes to the Grace-Giver and it compels us to run toward Him with joy and passion and abandon. We don’t have to be timid, we don’t feel like we have to be someone else, and we don’t have to worry that we’re not doing enough or enough of the right things. This is living in grace…”
What are your thoughts on giving grace?
Cary Plunkett is married to Chris Plunkett the Millennial Pastor at Cross Church Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, Arkansas. By day she assists various ministries at Cross Church and by night she is attempting to keep up with their two young children.
Published July 27, 2015