Grace is needed
“Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.”
Stephen whose name means ‘crown’ was indeed crowned the church’s first martyr.
But his martyrdom did not happen in the last verse of chapter 7 when he physically died. We so often think that it is here when a person becomes a martyr, where their blood does not spill in vain. But Stephen was a martyr here in this chapter when he began to lay his life down in serving others. It began with the widows table and then as he began to do what only the apostles had done previously that is the working of miracles. He began to reach people’s lives through healings and transformations and through his teaching that the worship of God was no longer restricted to the temple (as 7:48-49 will reveal). Many of us have hoped that if ever the day came when we faced the situation of dying for Christ that we would be given a special grace to do just that, a grace to be a martyr, I am sure that would happen. But the question can be answered now. Are you dying to Christ now? Are you living so that God will be glorified in others now?
When the apostles laid their hands on Stephen he was set apart, he was anointed for works of service to people. But he did those works from a place not only of power but of grace.
A grace that created enthusiasm for God.
A grace that served unselfishly and sacrificially.
A grace that valued people.
A grace that was genuine.
A grace that had a positive outlook.
A grace that was an influencer.
Maybe power follows grace?