As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. . . "
(1 Pet. 4:10)
I tripped over this verse today. I don't know if I have just never noticed the language of this in the ESV --- "varied grace" --- or whether the idea of God dispensing grace in a different manner to each person made me recoil. I don't think of God as giving differently, though I know it to be true. Some have many gifts; some, one. Some have ten talents; some, one. From a purely human, limited perspective, this appears unfair. Yet it's another opportunity to trust God, to defer to His wisdom in apportioning grace, to rest in the one grace given to us all: salvation, freedom, deliverance, redemption, sanctification, restoration, glorification --- a golden chain. Put like that grace doesn't seem varied at all.
I have spent a great deal of my life wishing I had some other gift or gifts, some other dispensation of grace. When I was a teenager, I wished I had athletic ability. In college, I wished I was social. In law school, I wished I wasn't (in law school, that is). (That has nothing to do with the topic, but I couldn't help myself.) I never got to be a rock and roll musician either. (My high school friend's father, who was a decent jazz musician, and who suffered my guitar chops, crushed me when he told me I should keep my day job.) I fancied myself a record mogul for a time (a broke one). I got to be a lawyer, yet some days, particularly when I stand in a courtroom before judges, I feel like a kid pretending to be a lawyer, that somehow I duped the Bar and everyone else into letting me practice law. Oh, and I never got to be a superhero. I couldn't lift a car, stretch myself, throw web and swing from trees, or run fast enough in my P.F. Flyers to fly.
Yet, these days I soar on varied grace. I am free from all the sin that would weigh me down, cut free from a ball and chain of regret, with no penance to pay. I have learned the grace of community, the gift of introversion, the superhero grace it takes to be husband and a father, the blessed gift of long, persevering friendships. A first Fall leaf that I once may have stepped on and crushed without thought I now kneel to and examine, full of wonder, take every created thing and look through it to God. The kid who dresses up as a lawyer is just growing young, that's all, dropping the husk of expectation and pretense and just playing through.
So, varied grace. It doesn't matter. I have all I need. Don't you?