August 16, 2018

Filled with God’s Grace and Power

August 16, 2018


Psalm 111
1 Kings 1:1-30
Acts 6:8-15
This weekend’s reading: Genesis 3:1-13


As old King David’s story continues, we meet an obscure character and possible answer to a Trivia question: Who is Abishag? Her job description is unusual, but David’s struggle to keep warm is understandable to anyone who has cared for an elderly person. Abishag gives David a human solution to an old man’s problem. This arrangement may seem a bit primitive or even improper to us in our day of central heating and electric blankets, but Abishag becomes an important part of David’s retinue; it is curious that we even know her name. We can imagine that Abishag’s youthful energy helps keep him interested in life.
Even though he is “very old,” David thinks through the next crisis—another son tries to take his place as king. This son, Adonijah, is spoiled, and he is enthralled with the trappings of kingship: chariots, horses, and 50 men to run in front of him. But he forgot to get the approval of the most influential men in the country: Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and David’s special guards. Even princes can’t seize power just by putting on a show.
Acts 6 introduces us to Stephen, a direct contrast to Adonijah. Stephen was already filled with “God’s grace and power” (v. 8). His power was shown, not in horses and chariots, but in deeds of kindness and mercy. Chosen by the disciples to care for the poor in the community, Stephen’s wisdom and faith irritated some powerful religious leaders, for he was loved. In fear of losing power, they spread rumors against him and stirred up the crowds. His accusers hauled him into court, but when they examined him, all they find is that he has the face of an angel.


  • We have heard about “grace and knowledge” and now “grace and power.” What are the dangers of power without grace or knowledge?
  • How is the power God gives different from power coveted by people who want to dominate others for their own self-interest?


  • Now might be a good time to discuss bullying in the context of Stephen’s story.
  • Remember the importance of St. Stephen in the Christian tradition. Look up ways St. Stephen’s Day (December 26) has been observed in various countries and in history.


God of mercy, your servant Stephen was full of grace and power. Lead us in Stephen’s path of faith and give us his courage that we, like Stephen, may do wonders among the people. Help those who work to feed and care for people in need, and give us grateful hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.