Grace. When we talk about grace, we often speak about amazing grace . . . and all-sufficient grace. We think about grace abundant enough to cover our sins . . . about receiving grace when we deserved wrath. The well of grace is deep . . . and I, for one, love drinking of its waters. By default, I’m thinking, when we think of grace we think of how grace has been shown to us . . . we glory in being recipients of God’s unmerited favor. But what about being dispensers of grace?
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)
Paul has shifted in his letter to the Ephesians from the doctrinal to the practical. After three glorious chapters of revealing who we are in Christ, he changes gears to exhort the believer to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1). And, if I’m picking up some of what he’s laying down, then part of “walking in a manner worthy” is to be a dispenser of grace.
That the Scriptures recognize the power of the mouth is evident . . . that I so often am not mindful of the impact of words is, unfortunately, also all too evident.
James says that, though the tongue is a “small member,” yet it can set forests ablaze . . . stir up a world of unrighteousness . . . stain the whole body . . . spew deadly poison. It is a small member that no human can tame . . . and with it we “bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” “My brothers,” he says, “these things ought not to be so” (James 3:5-10).
Jesus says the mouth is a window into the heart . . . “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34) . . . that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart” (Matt. 15:18).
So, according to James, we need a regenerated tongue . . . what man cannot tame, the Spirit of God can. For those who have believed the gospel message . . . who have been redeemed . . . who have been born again . . . operation “Tame the Tongue” has begun. And according to Jesus, if now, as objects of God’s great love, we have come to be filled with overflowing grace . . . if our hearts have become cisterns collecting the living water of heaven poured out into our lives . . . shouldn’t what comes out of mouths reflect some of that living water . . . some of that amazing grace . . . some of that all-sufficient grace?
So easy to be mindful of being recipients and dull concerning being dispensers. So natural to lift our faces heavenward, open our mouths wide, and invite the rain of heaven to fill and refresh us anew . . . and not think twice about the privilege and opportunity we have to serve up some of that heavenly refreshment such that others might be built up and encouraged, as well.
To be a dispenser of grace . . . to speak words that reflect the compassion of Christ and the heart of God . . . to take a pass on “brutal honesty” and instead draw alongside with gentle encouragement.
That, by the grace of God, we might impart the grace of God . . . for the benefit of His people . . . for the glory of His Name. Amen?