October 15, 2018 • Life for Leaders
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
In last Thursday’s Life for Leaders devotion, we began to work on the question: What is your calling? We saw that, in Ephesians, the calling of each and every Christian emerges from the story of God in the first three chapters, a story centered in God’s saving work through Jesus Christ. Today, I want to focus on one essential but often overlooked dimension of God’s work. This dimension will help you understand more clearly the character of your calling.
In Ephesians 1:9-10, we learn about God’s plan for “when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Yes, God will save individuals through Christ. But God’s plan for the future is even deeper and wider. He will mend the whole cosmos, restoring everything that was broken by sin (see Genesis 3). Christ’s saving work not only delivers individual souls but also brings unity and shalom to the broken universe.
In Ephesians 2, this unifying work of Christ is seen vividly as his death unites divided humankind. By dying on the cross, Christ made peace in place of hostility, creating in himself one new humanity, and reconciling this unified humanity to God (2:14-16). Therefore, we Gentiles are no longer cut off from God’s people. Rather, we become members of God’s family and stones in God’s temple (2:19-22). The multicultural solidarity of the people of God is the first step in God’s work to unite all things in Christ.
In Ephesians 3, the unified people of God, who are joined together as one body and one church, become the chief means by which God makes his saving wisdom known to the whole cosmos (3:10). We do this not only through our words, as we tell the story of God’s salvation, but also through our actions, as we live out together the unity we have through the cross. Our calling, therefore, includes bearing witness in word and deed, in our practices and our relationships, to the saving, unifying grace of God in Christ.
In future devotions, we’ll talk more about the implications of this truth. At this point, let me encourage you to reflect on the unifying work of Christ and how this might be relevant to your life.
Something to Think About:
How has God’s saving work through Christ made a difference in your life?
Have you experienced in relationships with others the peace and reconciliation that Christ forges through the cross? If so, when?
How might your life be different if you embraced your calling as an agent of God’s unifying work?
Something to Do:
Read carefully and prayerfully Ephesians 2:11-22. Consider the implications of this passage for how you live in every sector of life, including your daily work.
Gracious God, thank you for acting in grace towards us. Thank you for saving us through Christ, not only as individuals, but also as peoples. Thank you for breaking down the dividing walls of hostility between us, for making peace through the cross.
Help us, Lord, to embody the unity that we have in Christ. May we be people of reconciliation in every part of life, in our homes and offices, in our churches and neighborhoods, in our public life and our private life. Help us to demonstrate to the whole universe the wonder and wisdom of the gospel through our unity as your people. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project:
The universal call to work
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.