Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In Ephesians 4 Paul says, “Live a life worthy of God’s calling.” A lofty goal, indeed. But what does this worthy life look like?
Paul says it is a life lived in community, using the gifts God gives.
First, community. In the evangelical circles where I grew up, the word “community” was not used much. I think we assumed that when we excluded bad Christians, Roman Catholics, liberals, and cults, we’d be left with a tribe of true believers that would automatically be a close and loving community.
Not surprisingly, it didn’t work. We didn’t become a close community. We became a closed community. Stricter rules and rigid doctrine created arguments and exclusions instead of growth and fellowship.
As I said jestingly to a friend, “I think it’s just you and me who have got things right. And I’m beginning to have doubts about you.”
In Ephesians, Paul presents a simple list of things to believe. He says, “There is one body and one Spirit,. . . one hope. . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6). Perhaps we try too hard to pin down the details, deciding which baptisms to include in the one baptism, and which body is the real body of Christ. But God is over all, and in all, and through all.
Paul says, “Be humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph 4:2-3). We build community through patience and unity; not through excluding those we disagree with.
Besides being a life in community, Paul describes the life worthy of God’s calling as a life which recognizes and uses God’s gifts.He says, “To each of us, Christ has given a measure of grace.” Then he quotes an obscure psalm:
When he ascended on high,
he took captives in his train
and gave gifts to people (Eph 4:8, quoting Psalm 68:18).
Christ gives to the community people who help it become mature–apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. He also gives each member of the community a
a measure of grace, a gift to be shared with others. The community grows as we recognize and value Christ’s gift of others, and Christ’s gifts in others.
O father, our Christian community is a stumbling, inefficient, wounded collection of misfits. As Paul said, God did not call the wise, the influential, the noble, the strong. He chose foolish things to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:26-27).
Jesus, you built your community with small-time fishermen, a political agitator, and a thieving treasurer. Give us your vision, help us receive your gifts, grant us wisdom to build a remarkable community with the unremarkable people you choose.
I’m Daniel, on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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