And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
This last summer I read a book by a Chinese man, Bob Fu called “God’s Double Agent.” It’s a great story about his path to finding Jesus in the midst of communist China where this was not allowed politically. He and his wife named their first daughter “Fengsheng de endian” which is abundant grace in Chinese. Abundant means rich, plentiful, luxuriant and full of substance. That name has stuck with me since. To name a child ‘Abundant Grace’ is so awesome.
Paul wrote in Romans 1:5, “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations.” It was only by God’s grace that Paul became an apostle and was able to do the things he did. One of the meanings of grace (besides it being an undeserved gift) is God’s enabling power that He gives to us to do what we are called to do.
It is also God’s enabling power to obey by faith, to have the kind of faith that leads to obedience. If we do what we do in our own strength, we get the glory. If we do what we’re called to do by God’s enabling power and grace, He gets the glory and we get the help. And as Romans 1:5 states, we get God’s abundant grace to bring glory to God’s great name among all the nations.
Let’s break that down a little. One of my all time favorite movies is “Chariots of Fire.” In the movie Eric Liddle tells his sister in his lilting Scottish brogue, “I know God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” When Eric acted on the longings God gave to him, Eric glorified God. God gives different people different longings. When we obey those longings and walk in them, He gives us the grace to make what we do look easy.
For some, it is motherhood. That is the longing of their heart and they do it incredibly well with the enabling grace that God provides. But using motherhood as an example, it isn’t an end in itself. According to Romans 1:5, God gives mothers the grace to be good mothers not to put their children on a throne and to be absorbed by endless soccer games and scrapbooking to chronicle their every day. He does it to bring glory to His name through families, with the end of making His great name known among the nations.
Just how a family, a mother or an individual will bring God glory will be revealed by God as they faithfully, obediently and Jesus-centeredly live out their lives. And as we call on Him, He will pour out His abundant grace that enables us to be obedient and His abundant grace to overflow into others’ lives for the sake of God’s great name.
“Once more, never think that you can live to God by your own power or strength; but always look to and rely on Him for assistance, yea, for all strength and grace.” ~ David Brainerd, Missionary