Today is Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Peace be with you!
Six days until C’s birthday!!!
Today is Saxophone Day. I’m not a huge fan, myself, but I have some friends who play or played saxophone. They get their own holiday! I do like it when Dan Michaels of The Choir plays it, though.
No real news around here, other than I only have two more days to work this week, then I’ll be off for a five-day weekend!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Today I am grateful:
1. For the ability to play instruments with which to praise the Lord.
2. That my heart rejoices in the Lord, and I put my trust in him.
3. For the gift of faith.
4. For the extravagant grace of God.
5. That grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Ephesians 4:7).
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house;
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil.
Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Ephesians 4 is the turning point of Ephesians. In the first three chapters, Paul has been talking about our calling in Christ. Now, he turns to the topic of our walk with Christ. And, according to Eugene Peterson, the turning point is the word “worthy” in verse 1. The Greek word for “worthy” is “axios.” The picture is that of a balancing scale, with the arm placed on a fulcrum or axis. When the two opposite measures are balanced, they are said to be “worthy.”
But that’s not really what I’m focusing on, this morning. What has caught my attention is the verse that comes after all of this talk of unity; “one body and one Spirit,” “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Verse 7: “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Greek scholar. All that bit up there about “axios” came from Eugene Peterson. And I had to go look that up, this morning, because I couldn’t remember what the Greek word was. I remembered that “worthy” was the turning point of the book of Ephesians, though. Anyway, what catches my attention in verse 7 is the part I emphasized. “According to the measure of Christ’s gift.”
Most of the commentaries that I looked at said something to the effect that the gifts are given out as Christ determines or desires. In other words, Jesus gives us gifts as he sees fit. And that seems reasonable. But I see something else in there. To me, the key word in the verse is “grace.” Grace was given to each one of us. And it was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
What “gift” is he referring to? I’m not sure I can answer that, exactly. If you keep reading, Paul talks about Jesus ascending on high, giving gifts to men. Then later, Paul talks about him giving us apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers.
I do believe that Jesus has given everyone in his Church a gift, and I’m speaking above and beyond the gift of eternal life. People tend to get caught up in Paul’s lists, especially when it comes to spiritual gifts. But if you read Paul carefully, you will notice that no two of his lists are exactly the same, which leads us to believe that he is just giving examples of characteristics that the Spirit gives us through Christ.
Once again, though, this is not a treatise on spiritual gifts.
I’ve rambled around a bunch to get to this point. “According to the measure of Christ’s gifts.” The “measure” of Christ’s gift is limitless! Infinite. There is no limit to the grace that is given us “according to the measure of Christ’s gift!” That’s what I’m getting at.
Again, I’m no Greek scholar. I’m just a simple (yet somewhat educated) man reading the Bible in my own language, and this is what I see in it. The grace of God has no limit. It is extravagant; it is boundless; it is unending. You can’t use it up.
You can ignore it, though, which would be tragic.
Find that grace today. Let it fill your life. Let it soak your soul. Let it wash over you like rain.
Father, I thank you for this grace. Maybe I don’t quite properly understand what Paul is saying in those verses. Or maybe I do. But I do believe that your grace, given by Jesus, is extravagant, infinite, and permanent. I praise you for that. Help me to find it today, as I walk through this day in your kingdom.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Grace and peace, friends.