The grace that saves us is the same grace that sends us.
I should maybe say that again: the grace that saves us is the same grace that sends us.
That which brings us into right relationship with God also pushes out into the world with the message of reconciliation. As we've been studying Ephesians at our church, that thought has caught me over and over and over again. The grace for ministry is also the grace for our salvation.
There remain two implications for me:
1. I can't go about ministry in my own strength. This is true for everyone, not just pastors. Those who are doing ministry in their workplaces and neighborhoods, those who are serving and sharing in the rhythms of their everyday lives, they can't do ministry in their own strength either. Just as my salvation is not by my doing, so is ministry. It's a simple lesson but important: apart from Jesus we can do nothing that lasts and matters.
2. One of the ways to magnify the grace of God is to share it with others. Life-giving water, in a sense, is really only life-giving when people partake of it. So the grace that propels us outward doesn't propel us to be nicer, more moral, or socially polite people. It sends us out with a message and the authority to bear witness to that message. And sharing it is one way to show just how valuable that message really is.
So one more time for the road: the grace that saves us is the same grace that sends us.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...
P.S. Thanks for hanging in there with me for 1000 posts. Seriously. Thanks.