8-10 “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.”
Acts 6:8-10 (NIV)
Stephen clearly had game. Scripture says he “did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” That had to put him in some sort of all-star status.
And Stephen also grew to be a powerful communicator. In Acts 6 it goes on to say that when he spoke, he was unrivaled. Not even the best could stay with him.
What brought Stephen to such a high performance level? The Bible points to five markers.
Full of GODLY SERVICE: Stephen served widows. He served women. He served the poor. He served those racially and ethnically different faithfully and selflessly.
This was no easier in his culture than ours. It took real guts and true humility (Acts 6:1-7).
Full of GOD’S GRACE: To be full of God’s grace is to be consumed by it, saturated in it. It means that grace is given away freely to others and not merely received.
Stephen went about making people’s days by being grace-driven, extending unearned favor to others as he received it himself.
He gave generously and loved well. His messaging was always grace-based, and his acceptance of others was never performance-based (Acts 6:8).
Full of GOD’S POWER: God infuses people with power when they are committed to God. He loves to support obedience and selfless service.
When people make it their business to extend grace to others, His power rushes in to win hearts, heal people in all kinds of ways, and build beautiful movements (Acts 6:8).
Full of GODLY WISDOM: Stephen made wisdom-seeking a priority. He wouldn’t let experience be his only teacher. He pursued wisdom until it filled him. And oh, how others benefitted from his journey (Acts 6:10).
Full of GOD’S SPIRIT: We are as full of God’s Spirit as we care to be. Stephen knew this. So he tapped into God’s Spirit to sustain, support and guide him all the time.
He kept making much of Jesus and began to resemble Him beautifully (Acts 6:10).
Stephen was filled with service, grace, power, wisdom and Spirit. It made his everyday performance striking and his speech compelling. He racked up wins day after day because of this.
Reflect: What are you filled with? Are you known for your grace-giving and service-bringing? Which of Stephen’s five markers could use an upgrade in you?
A prayer to consider: LORD Jesus, I love what I see in Stephen. You made him full. Fill me like you filled him, for Your glory and my joy in You. Amen.