Stephen’s ministry and arrest

Date: Wednesday, June 26

The scriptures for this week’s devotions are the ones from the week of the Black Forest Fire, which were not completed after Wednesday of that week. The devotions have been edited to renew the content. 

ScriptureActs 6:8-15

Verse: Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)

An oxymoron is a phrase that combines two contradictory terms, like “jumbo shrimp.” Hundreds of examples are contained in “The Biggest Little List of Oxymorons Online,” if you would like to learn more. In today’s reading, the description of Stephen appears to be an oxymoron. He is said to have been “full of grace and power.” How can that be? 

When I think powerful people, I think of the assertive and strong. Those who are out in front, leading others. I think of big personalities, like people we would vote for. Grace, on the other hand, calls to mind images of those who are comfortable behind the scenes. They tend to be more easy going, and willing to let others take the lead. How could Stephen be full of both? I think because our definition of power and God’s are different. 

I have met people full of grace and power. Often they are those who like Stephen have dedicated their lives to serving others. Their power comes through their quiet assurance of God’s presence in their lives. Their ability to remain in control while struggling, to be the calming presence in the midst of chaos, and to follow Jesus without any pretense or thought for themselves reflects the power of the Kingdom of God. Those full of grace and power speak to me of the presence of God in ways few others can. 

Too often Christians strive to be people of power the same way the rest of the world seeks power – at work, in politics, in our neighborhoods. Kingdom power is different. It is a grace-filled power. The church today needs more Stephens, people filled with grace and power. 

Prayer: Teach me, Lord Jesus, to be a person of grace and power. Amen. 

Action: Look around today – at work, in the news, in your family – for people who are filled with grace and power. 

Respond: Have you known a “Stephen”? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.

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About Joe Iovino

Christian, husband & father, Associate Pastor in Monument CO, guitar player, motorcyclist, Mets fan.
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