October 26 – Prison Letters – Distinct and Unworthy

Read Ephesians 3:1-21

“Squirrel!”  Our pastoral staff often uses that single word from the Disney/PIXAR film “Up” in describing a situation where someone was distracted from the main focus in a conversation.  If we are honest, all of us are subject to those “Squirrel” moments.  Even though the conversation is headed in one direction, some thought or comment will cause us to throw in a detail that is a tangent to the main conversation.

Paul seems to have had one of those “Squirrel” moments as he wrote Ephesians 3.  He begins a statement in verse 1, interrupts himself from verse 2 through 13, and then returns to that original thought in verse 14.

In the main conversation, Paul points out his prayer for the Ephesian believers.  His passion was that God would so strengthen them inwardly that they would have a firm foundation of love and the strength to begin to grasp the incomprehensible.  He wanted them to grow in their understanding of the infinite dimensions of God’s love.   That knowledge is something all should aspire to.  Remember that God so loved that He gave His Son (Jn. 3:16)!  Try to digest the fact that Christ was so compelled by love that He died for us (Rom. 5:8)!  Never weary of contemplating the incredible reality that the greatest love that man has ever known was love for us demonstrated as Christ surrender His life on the cross (Jn. 15:13).  Stop and weigh the privilege of knowing that God’s love for both Jew and Gentile was so great that we are both united in Him and considered by Him to be “sons [and daughters] of God” (1 Jn. 3:1).

But the “squirrel” interruption came as Paul spoke of the special stewardship God had entrusted to him.  God had given him the privilege of understanding a mystery not before made known, but now made clear.  This mystery was the realization that Jew and Gentile would be united in one body.  To this unlikely servant Paul, God had also given a unique responsibility of inviting Gentiles into that one body.

You and I are a distant product of Paul’s ministry and the unworthy object of God’s love.

Steve Kern

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