SUMMER REBOOT – this podcast was originally published in the new year, on 9 January 2019.
Hi it’s Mick here – it’s Wednesday, half way through the working week in this first week of 2019! We hope you are enjoying our Podcasts and the reflections on Ephesians are informing and inspiring you. It gets better – we have now arrived at Ephesians chapter 3, a great passage.
Ephesians 3:1-7 is our reading today but let’s focus on v7 from The Message:
This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. (Eph 3:7 MSG)
Question: Do you want to be used by God? Do you want to make a difference – in your family and with your friends, in your school, university, workplace, neighbourhood? Do you want to play your part in bringing the goodness and kindness of Jesus to those around you? It is always encouraging to know that as we follow Jesus in our everyday lives that our simple actions can have repercussions into eternity.
The Bible says that ‘The kindness of God leads to repentance’ (Romans 2:4).
In other words, our kind actions can be a catalyst in the lives of those around us, calling them to ask … ‘Why?’ Why are you doing this? I became a Christian many years ago and the journey began when a Christian colleague I worked with showed me kindness. It really does work!
Today’s Bible passage not only reveals the mystery of Christ, but it also shows us how, as a result, we can be used by God to make an difference. There is power in the message of the gospel.
This power does not come from your circumstances or position in life. Paul himself was a prisoner (v.1). It doesn’t come from human greatness. Paul writes, ‘I am less than the least of all God’s people’ (v.8). Power doesn’t come from lording it over people. Paul writes, ‘I became a servant’ (v.7).
Power comes from the message of the gospel put into practice every day by our simple acts of kindness, love, generosity and a willingness to speak to others when asked about our faith in Jesus.
This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. (Eph 3:7)
This verse sums up the life of Tricia and myself over these many years of following Jesus; the last 30 or so years as full time church leaders but, before that, as disciples trying to live out our faith in work with colleagues alongside bringing up three young children. You see, Paul is telling us here in this scripture that this call is not just for vicars or church leaders or those who stand at the front in church; no … it’s God’s call for all of us who follow Jesus!
As we engage with the Grow Project this year and go deeper with God, our faith will become more, and God’s call on our lives and our church will become clearer. This was Paul’s calling. This is our calling today and every day; to be kind, to be generous and to be ready – God will handle the details. Let Jesus work through you today. Exciting!
Lord, I am ready to be used by you today and the days to come. Help me to help others understand your message of forgiveness, love and new beginnings. I am ready Lord; use me. Amen.
READING: Ephesians 3:1-7 MSG
This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called. I take it that you’re familiar with the part I was given in God’s plan for including everybody. I got the inside story on this from God himself, as I just wrote you in brief.
As you read over what I have written to you, you’ll be able to see for yourselves into the mystery of Christ. None of our ancestors understood this. Only in our time has it been made clear by God’s Spirit through his holy apostles and prophets of this new order. The mystery is that people who have never heard of God and those who have heard of him all their lives (what I’ve been calling outsiders and insiders) stand on the same ground before God. They get the same offer, same help, same promises in Christ Jesus. The Message is accessible and welcoming to everyone, across the board.
This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details. When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.