Good works, Grace, Life

How to leverage grace for the good of others

© September 3, 2018 | Schulter Etyang

The king had a bad dream. He was so troubled he couldn’t sleep. He then ordered all his wise men, magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and soothsayers to tell him about the dream. The only catch was this – he refused to tell them the details of the dream. That was bad. Even worse, if they couldn’t tell the dream and its interpretation, he threatened to destroy them and their families, however, he would reward them with gifts, rewards and great honour, if they got it right. These guys then tried to negotiate with the king about the impossibility of such a task, and ended up infuriating him further such that he ordered that they are destroyed.

So the command went out and some were killed. Daniel and his friends were also to be killed.

But Daniel was shrewd. He spoke to Arioch, the king’s captain, and Arioch told him why the king’s command was urgent. Daniel then went to the king, and asked for more time, to be able to interpret the dream

There are so many implications of grace and the gospel in this story.

The king gave a command. The king’s word was final. This is a picture of the law of God.  The law is unbending. The demands of the law are unreasonable. Its demands don’t consider the abilities or weaknesses of the doers of the law. Whether you have the ability or not, you must perform, and perform well for that matter. The law of God is final.

The king promised to bless the persons who interpreted the dream and punish them if they didn’t. This is how the law works. If you do right, you are blessed, if you do wrong, you are punished. There is no middle road when it comes to the law.

The wise men, magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and soothsayers were limited in their ability to obey the command. They represent the whole of humanity – all of us. We know what God commands us to do, but we have limited or no resources or ability to do what God wants. So, we try to negotiate. We try to talk and convince God about his law. Our prayers are full of petitions because we want the rules of the game changed.

Because we are unable to perform the dictates of the law, the inevitable happens. We have to be punished. We have to die.

Daniel, however, went in to speak to the king. Daniel is a picture of Jesus who advocated and advocates on our behalf, before the king. Daniel became a mediator between the king and the people the king sought to destroy. Jesus is our mediator. (1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV) Where our inabilities and weaknesses positioned us for judgement, Jesus went in and mediated for us. He leveraged his grace for us. 

I think that this leveraging of grace can be used for the good of others.

We all have unreasonable bosses, spouses, friends, governments, business partners, who always demand from us to pull the rabbit out of the bag, do impossible tasks with limited or no resources. Here is where we can lean hard on the grace of God to impart us with gifts and skills that we can use to do good to others.

For example, if you are working for a boss that is demanding and unreasonable, this boss could be putting you and your colleagues under extreme pressure to meet targets within short timelines. Like Daniel, you could receive from God the knowledge and skills set that you could use to help your colleagues meet these targets. You could make your colleagues look good and ease the pressure off of their lives. You will be leveraging grace for their good.

Even when it comes to marriage. Spouses know when the other spouse is drowning in stress, either at home or at work. I know when Jenny starts to sink because her ship has taken in water. I then use my grace to leverage it for her good. I try to create a sense of calm around her. I take upon myself to do most of the house chores so that when she comes home, she comes home to peace and calm – peace and calm, which rejuvenates her for the next day for work. 

You could leverage your grace and serve the single mom who has no house help.

You could leverage your grace and pay fees and even rent for your family members and friends who are struggling financially. 

You could leverage your grace and serve the orphan, widow and immigrant.

You could leverage your grace by offering counsel or advice to a struggling young couple.

You could leverage your grace and help upskill your house help’s education, pay off her debts and even pay for her kid’s school fees.

You could leverage your grace by giving a good tip to that overworked server at the restaurant or car guard.

We leverage grace for the good of others because Jesus leveraged his grace for our good. Unlike Daniel who was given more time to pray and interpret his dream, Jesus went before the king but didn’t make it out alive. The king judged him for our inability to fulfill the law, but, also rewarded us because of Jesus’ fulfilling of the law. Jesus was punished for our disobedience and we were rewarded for his obedience. Daniel’s name means God is the judge. In a sense, Daniel took upon himself the judgment of the king on behalf of the people. Jesus, in reality, took on himself our sins and the judgment of God against our sins fell on him. 

Jesus leveraged his grace for you when you were at risk of judgment and eternal damnation.

Daniel was promoted, and yet again leveraged his grace for the promotion of others. He urged the king to promote his friends. Jesus has also been promoted. Jesus has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honour next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority. 1 Peter 3:22 (NLT) Guess what? We also are seated with him in the place of honour next to God. (Ephesians 2:6 NKJV)

Hey, if you are a Christian, leverage your grace to pull people up, especially those who are at risk. Jesus leveraged his grace for you when you were at risk of judgment and eternal damnation.

Hey non-Christian, grace has already been leveraged for you. Take advantage of it. The gospel is the only worldview or faith that really empowers its adherents with the necessary gifts and skills set to use for the betterment of others. You want to do good to others? The gospel is your answer.

That’s what grace looks like

This entry was posted in: Good works, Grace, Life

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Schulter Etyang leads The Life Place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Schulter is one whom Jesus loves. He loves his wife, Jenny, and enjoys reading, travelling, cooking, running and playing squash. He also enjoys conversations with friends about Jesus and about life.