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“Filled with grace and power.” These words are an interesting way to describe a man about to be executed. In an age where someone accused is immediately thought to be guilty, it does not appear to be possible to describe a death row inmate as being “filled with grace and power.” But that is the way Saint Luke describes Stephen in today’s account of the stoning of Stephen.

Saint Stephen is an interesting person. He was one of the deacons chosen to serve the needs of the Greek-speaking widows so that the apostles could preach the Word of God. And yet it is Stephen who makes the strong theological case for Jesus being greater than Moses, which for a modern-day Jew would be a difficult thing to accept. And after this passage we hear today, Stephen does not address the charge that he is placing Jesus above Moses (which in fact he was doing) but rather goes on to make the case that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Jewish community should embrace him as the Messiah.

Stephen is able to endure his martyrdom because he is filled with grace and power. You can be too. You too can receive grace and power in fullness. You too can open your heart so that God can use your gifts to their fullest.

So what is it you think God wants you to use your gifts for? What is it God is calling you to do? When you think of those things you have received from Jesus, where is it you will use these talents in such a way that people will see that you are filled with grace and power.

As you pray today, take a moment to ask God where it is he wants to use you. What is it that God wants you to recognize about the gifts he has given to you? How is it that God wants you to witness to what can be done when you are filled with grace and power, and you realize it? Ask Jesus today to help you to open your heart and soul to him. Ask Jesus to help you to be aware to the many ways he has filled you with gifts and graces. Take some time today to thank Jesus for all that he has done for you.

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