Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Second Day Of Christmas

Stephen : Deacon : First Martyr

Christmas is for servants.

Gifts are given, and received.  Skills are taught, and learnt.  But character can only be shaped, the shaping embraced.  Of gifts, skills and character, character is the most significant, because character determines whether God’s freely-given gifts and the skills we have acquired will be used for good or for ill.

Stephen had clearly been given a gift to interpret the story of salvation; and had surely invested in the skills required to communicate that story in public address.  But the shape of his character is revealed by his willingness to take on a role administering very practical justice, in the allocation and distribution of food to widows dependent on the church for their support.  This role recognised other gifts and skills, true; but it is serving others that shapes character.  In the faithful execution of those duties, Stephen demonstrated the character to bear faithful witness to Jesus; and, indeed, this was shown to be so when he did get the opportunity to use his gifts and skills in a very public profile.

Christmas is for servants, who will make themselves nothing in order to bring freedom to others.

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