February 19, 2018 • Life for Leaders
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…
Ephesians 1:11 refers to God in an unusual way. The verse does not say, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of God,” though this is clearly the basic point. Rather, the verse refers to God as “him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
The Greek phrase translated here as “him who works out” is actually a participle, “the one working [out].” It is a form of the verb energeo, which is linguistically related to our verb “to energize.” Energeo means “to be in action, to operate, to work, to effect.”
In tomorrow’s devotion, I will consider the implications of God working out everything according to his will. Today, I want to highlight the simple fact that God is working. God isn’t just sitting up on his heavenly throne, gazing down on us with judgment or joy. God isn’t hanging around waiting for us to do something. Rather, God is working. God is in action. God is doing things in the world for his purposes.
This is nothing new, of course. The very first line of the Bible reveals God at work: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God is active in creation and then, because of sin, in redemption and restoration. As Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17).
And we too are working, or at least we should be. As beings created in the image of God, we are to be active as stewards of God’s creation and participants in his redemptive activity as well. Our work is not just what we do to make a living. Rather, our work is essential to our living well, fruitfully, and meaningfully.
This doesn’t mean that all of our work will be delightful. Scripture shows us that our experience of work is warped by sin. It is troubled by thorns and thistles. We know what it’s like when work is hard, frustrating, disappointing, and fruitless. Yet, as we do our work in faithfulness to the God who works and who created us in his image, God is honored, and we experience—however incompletely—the life of productivity that God intended for us.
Something to Think About:
Do you picture God working?
How might the truth that God is a worker impact your life?
Is God working in your life?
Something to Do:
Today, as you do your work, pay attention to God’s presence with you. What might God be doing in you? Through you? What might God be saying to you?
Gracious God, how good to be reminded that you are at work. Thank you for the work you have done in creation, in redemption, and in my life. Thank you as well for calling me to share in your work. Help me to do this today, and every day. Teach me to see my life as an opportunity to be not only your servant but also your co-worker. And may I do everything for your purposes and glory. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Who Works When, and Why? (John 5)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.