Spotlight 12/2019: Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift

“Rich in Christ” is not always immediately apparent. District Apostle Michael E. Deppner encourages us to look at things from a different angle for a change.

We are often plagued by existential questions: Why am I New Apostolic or a servant of God? Why am I in Sunday School, in the youth, or in the choir? Is it because I have a good voice and I like music and they need me? No, my dear sister, dear brother, it is grace.

Grace has often been described as being marvellous, infinite, indescribable, matchless, wondrous, amazing … We also sing of it in our hymns. In 2 Corinthians 9: 14–15 Apostle Paul simply refers to it as an unspeakable gift: “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”

We receive forgiveness because we regret what we have done and are willing to change. We forgive others, try to walk justly, and renounce sin. Without the grace of God, however, all of our efforts would be in vain.

Do we see the richness of this grace, the richness of the time of grace in which we live?

In the last years of his life, my father fell into a coma twice—and woke up after efforts by the health staff. After waking up, his question was, “Why am I still alive?” To his understanding, the answer was quite simple: “I guess my time has not yet come. Apparently, our heavenly Father is not finished with me here yet.” But this raised even more questions within him: what could He still want me to do; what else could I learn, say, or teach? How can I still serve Him? My father was a servant at heart, and this is what he did to the best of his ability.

When he eventually did pass away, we, his children, were very sorrowful, but even we realised that this too was grace.

So, the same answer could be given to the following questions: “Why am I healthy, why am I sick? Why did I pass the school year, why did I fail? Why am I rich or poor, married or single, educated or uneducated? Why was I born precisely in this country, in this city, in this village, into this family, into this congregation? Why was I born New Apostolic or why did I come in contact with God’s work in the autumn of my life?” None of this matters. The day that God’s love was poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5) was a day of grace.

As with all wealth–no matter how much we have and have received—it depends on how you manage and take care of it. What do we do with the riches that we have inherited through our divine childhood in Christ?

The greatest and most important of these riches is grace, God’s undeserved love. Grace is actually the source of all the other riches in Christ. Perhaps this is what made Chief Apostle Fehr say: “Everything is grace and grace is everything.” We could also say: “Everything is love and love is everything.” It is interchangeable.

Why am I a child of God, a servant of God, if not by grace. Why am I permitted to sing in the choir, to serve Him—in my capacity, in this place—if not by grace. This time of grace was particularly evident in my dad’s case, but the time of grace, this precious gift, is given to all of us. What do we do with it? How do we use it?

Photo: ENA DR Congo

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Michael Deppner
District Apostle, motto