Unified - Day 1 - For Better or Worse?
Ephesians 3:7-13 - 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
This is such a rich section of Scripture. One could camp out for months in it; however, today we’ll focus on one phrase: “... though I am the very least of all the saints…”.
Often when we think of “the least” in the church, the guy who wrote much of the New Testament isn’t where we go first; however, Paul thought of himself as such. In 1 Corinthians 15:9, he said he was the least of the apostles. Here in Ephesians Paul said he was the least of the saints, and finally in 1 Timothy 1:15, he calls himself the worst of sinners. It seems like his Christian “growth” is moving in the wrong direction.
I remember doing a membership interview a few years back and asked the man, “Where would you like to be spiritually in three years?” His response was “I want to be a better Christian.” It’s a good answer, but what do we mean by “better?” After all, Paul, by his own admission, seemed to be getting worse.
I think Paul was onto something. I don’t think he was getting worse, per se, but rather as he grew in his understanding of Jesus, who He is and what He’s done, he became more aware of Jesus’ greatness and his own “not-very-greatness.” In other words, our growth is found in our awareness of Jesus. It should cause us to be more grateful … and more humble, and at some point, we can all say, “He saved a wretch like me,” and mean it.
• Who would you say is “the best” Christian you know? What makes you say that?
• In light of today’s reading, have you re-thought the idea of “a better Christian?” What are your thoughts?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for His greatness and mercy toward you (in Jesus).