Grace for Greater
Chaplain Tamekia A. Milton
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesian 3:20)
A new year is underway! Some have commenced 2016 with resolutions, vows, or desirable fitness regimes to ignite change in specific areas of their lives. Others may have postured themselves to engage in spiritual disciplines such as fasting and praying, to deepen their spirituality or enrich their relationship with God. In whatever category you may or may not find yourself, know that you can succeed in that which God has placed on your heart and mind to do, because God gives us Grace for Greater!
The above mentioned verse of Scripture precedes the last line of the Apostle Paul’s prayer (which begins in verse 14) to the Church of Ephesus. This verse is quite familiar to some as it is often regarded to heighten a person’s expectation, build confidence, or encourage faith and dependency on God. Yet, in reading the entire passage, I recognized that the essence of a person’s ability to experience the nature of God as described in Ephesians 3:20, and even maximize their potential into a reality, is God’s grace. At the start of the chapter, Paul begins by acknowledging in verse 3, “the dispensation of the grace of God,” that was given to him. Likewise, in verse 7 he asserts, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me.” Paul’s recognition of God’s grace in his life and ministry further enlightened my appreciation of verse 20; as it offers a sensible way to apprehend life, the pursuit of purpose, and the fulfillment of destiny...Grace-fully.
When setting out to accomplish a goal or a new venture; obstacles, frustration, doubt, fear, procrastination, or etc., have the tendency to hinder our focus and deter our determination. We become dismayed when we perceive goals, hopes, and dreams within the limits of our finite nature. I propose that as we work to complete certain tasks this year, we consider and rely on God’s grace “Which is sufficient for thee.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) May we have positive expectations and seek God’s grace, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the unmerited divine assistance given to humans;” to enable us to function beyond our human ability and experience God’s infinite power and grace working in and through us.
One can attest that such power was at work in the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had a limitless faith and a relentless fight for freedom, justice, and equality. Amid the social disparities and unjust dilemmas that had (and in many ways continue to) plague our land, Dr. King kept his “eyes on the prize” for a better today and a brighter tomorrow. God’s grace not only empowered Dr. King to do what he set out to do and change the course of history, it also enhanced his view of the present conditions and the future to come. As he resounded in his last speech on April 3, 1968:
“I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”
Prayer: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”