Expect the Unexpected

Galatians 2:7-10

But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Grace is an unexpected thing.  We certainly don’t deserve it. Remember that grace means “unmerited favor.”  It makes sense, then, that the outworking of the ministry of grace happens in unexpected ways.  Braving grace requires us to expect the unexpected.

In today’s passage, we see that Peter was given the ministry of bringing the gospel to the Jews and Paul was called to minister to Gentiles.  This has always struck me as unexpected. After all, Peter’s background was in the fishing industry. He was a regular, hard-working guy. On the other hand, Paul was a highly educated Jewish scholar.  It seems that if anyone was equipped to take the gospel to the Jews, it would be the guy who was at one time the poster boy of Jewish leaders. Peter was also Jewish, but he was a regular guy. He could have regular guy conversations with any other regular guy outside of Judaism.  

But that’s not how God set it up.  He sent the Jewish poster boy to the Gentiles and the blue-collar guy to the religious Jews.  It was an unexpected pair of assignments, yet look at the results. The Gentile world has been and continues to be radically impacted by Paul’s explanation of grace.  Even in this moment, you are benefiting from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Notice the key to how these assignments were given and carried out.  Verse eight says that God worked effectively in both of them to accomplish their callings.  If we pursue success only based on our natural gifts and abilities and what we think makes the most sense, we will only get the results that we can generate.  But if we are brave enough to allow God’s strength to be perfected in our weaknesses, then He can work effectively to accomplish so much more than we can ask or think.

As you brave grace today, expect the unexpected.  Make room in your thinking for God to knock down the walls of your self-imposed limitations.  And brace yourself for results that are far better than you ever thought they could be.

Day 8

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