A Picture of Grace

Just one street off the Interamericana, I was driving on a road that could easily be mistaken for a dry riverbed. The dry spaces between its mudholes are paved with small boulders. It’s one of those paths that doesn’t allow a driver to look away for very long. Even though I was only going five km/h, I thought it prudent to look up at the intersecting road. When I did, a magnificent tree caught my eye. I’d never seen its kind before. It was an arching, verdant palm covered with clusters of brilliant white flowers. The second glance that it begged for helped me better understand what I was seeing. It was not one, but two trees.
 
The Frangipani tree puts on clusters of snow-white blossoms prior to developing its leaves. Well … one of those trees had grown up and through a standard coconut palm. The combination created the illusion of a new and beautiful species of tree. It was as if they were lending what the other lacked; one tree supplying the foliage, the other the flowers. This again reminded me of 1 Peter 4:10 and how the body of Christ is supposed to function,
 
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
 
Last month I explained that in this verse, the word “serve” is the same word elsewhere translated “ministry.” The application question was, “What’s your ministry?” But 1 Peter 4 also talks about God’s grace coming in “various forms.” The Greek word translated there literally means variegated or many-colored. God’s grace is expressed with variety and beauty as we pour into others what He has poured into us. One lends leaves, another flowers as the church paints a living picture of God’s glorious undeserved favor towards the world. What are you contributing toward the picture of Grace?