For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
The more I contemplate the GraceWorks’ mission statement and the power of its simplicity, the more I love it! So this month, I want to focus on the second half of our mission statement, which really is the more crucial part of it. Neighbor serving Neighbor, by the power of God’s grace. It was God’s grace that saved us, but in God’s generosity He didn’t snatch it away after our salvation, but lavished it upon us so that as His handiwork, we would be prepared for the preordained work He has for us. God goes on to tell us in Ephesians 4:7 that grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. John Piper said “Grace does not replace effort in the Christian life, but empowers it.”
How much more does God’s grace empower service that is done in His name? Grace is the infused presence of God. Paul speaks about how it was grace that enabled his ministry: “Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of His power” (Eph. 3:6). Paul goes further in Romans 12:6 to tell us how God’s grace empowers our ministries: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.” The verse goes on to list the gifts God has graced us with.
Every day, we see the second half of our mission statement in action through the empowerment of God’s grace at work in you. We see the power of God’s grace through the new donor who just pledged $1,000 a month to help with personal paper products and toiletries for our Neighbors; through the GraceWorker who has been here more than 16 years and allows God to break her heart over and over again with stories of poverty, want, abuse and brokenness as she ministers to our Neighbors; through the 90+ year-old processing volunteer who for decades has come in to price and tag accessories for our Thrift Store; through the board members who use their professional training and talent as lawyers, accountants, HR and IT specialists, business executives and pastors, etc. to steward the finances and governance of this ministry; through the food pantry volunteers who use their own vehicles to go pick up bread and other donated food items from stores throughout our community to help feed our Neighbors; through our fundraising event committee volunteers who use their passion, creative talent and networks to advance and promote our ministry to the community at large; through the corporation or foundation who partner with us by providing funds to support the tangible services to our Neighbors. A long list, and yet this lengthy sentence still doesn’t capture all that you do by the power of God’s grace!
Philip Yancey said “I would rather convey grace than explain it.”
However you serve or come alongside the ministry of GraceWorks you convey grace. Thank you for letting it empower you. “Yet not I, but the power of God’s grace within me” (1 Cor. 15:10b).
I marvel over all that grace has allowed you to do. GraceWorks is the rich beneficiary of your obedience to God’s whisper to let His grace be full in you so that through you others may know His love. May it be true of me as well!
By the Power of Grace,
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO