Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Eph 4:1-7
Right off the bat, here’s my confession… I wasn’t in church yesterday so this is not a reflection on our church’s sermon series in Ephesians… these are simply my own thoughts, musings and reflections…
I love the beautiful sway between individual giftings and corporate unity in this passage.
First, Paul is encouraging each of us in our unique gifts, to life a life worthy of our calling. The Message translates it like this:
I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!
—on the road God called you to travel.
And it’s clear that each of us is given a special gift, a unique calling through the love, grace and mercy of a generous Savior! Every one of us has something unique to bring to the table, that only we can bring! If you are holding back your gift out of fear, insecurity or greed, then the table Jesus wants to set before us hasn’t been fully set! It’s incomplete without you!
On the other end of this pendulum sway is our unity. While our giftings and callings are individual, unique, and only ours, we cannot get caught up in thinking that our uniqueness is somehow better than someone else’s. Or if we are “further along” in figuring out and walking in our calling, that we are somehow better than another who isn’t quite as far along on the journey. We are to be bound together with peace, humbleness, gentleness, and patience. In our individualistic, have-it-my-way society and culture, that is quite a task, but possible through the work of the Holy Spirit living in and working through each of us and all of us!
The Voice translation also makes these notes about this passage:
Now that Paul has described the new world as God would have it, he urges believers to live out their callings with humility, patience, and love: to walk as Jesus walked. These are the ways of Jesus. Paul encourages them to do whatever it takes to hold onto the unity that binds people together in peace. He does not ask them to create that unity; this has already been accomplished through the work of the Rescuer and His Spirit. Rather, he calls believers to guard that unity—a more modest but no less significant task—because that unity is founded on God’s oneness and work in the world.
As we continue through Lent, I encourage you to walk the way that Jesus walked… with humility… with peace and unity… with patience. Consider the last days of Jesus here on earth… how he walked in complete humility… in complete obedience to the difficult calling of his life. Those around him were encouraging him to revolt against the Roman government, and he reacted with patience and understanding. And still… he walked the journey to Calvary with determination in obedience to the calling placed upon him.
The Message translation spurs us on to walk The Way of Jesus:
You were all called to travel on the same road
and in the same direction,
so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.
You have one Master,
one God and Father of all,
who rules over all,
works through all,
and is present in all.
Everything you are
is permeated with Oneness.
May we walk in our unique giftings and callings, and at the same time may we be united under Jesus—permeated with Oneness—through the power of the Holy Spirit! As a church we at Five Stones are being encouraged to walk in our unique personal missions. As we do so, we look to Jesus to also unify us as we each work to bring God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. May Christ be glorified as we do!
By the way, I have a very good reason for missing church yesterday: I am walking in my unique calling! I was setting up for a four day training I am leading on the effects of trauma on the brain and body and a therapeutic tool called Trauma Sensitive YogaFaith, a faith-based, Christ-centered approach to Trauma Sensitive Yoga. Won’t you pray for us that Jesus would meet us all in powerful ways during this time set aside to explore this healing tool? Are you uncertain how yoga can be used by Christians to help others? Only through the redeeming, reclaiming, resurrection power of Jesus Christ! Read more here.
I hope you are also joining us on Wednesdays for the “7” series (the last 7 statements of Jesus from the cross in poetry, art and song) and on Fridays for the “Embodied” series as we move creatively through the Lenten season here at jodythomae.com. Previous posts in this Ephesians series can be found here:
Creative blessings, Jody
(c) 2018 Jody Thomae
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You, a devotional book with Bible studies to nurture the creative spirit within and to serve as a resource for creative Christians, artists, musicians and worshippers. She has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, coordinating artistic involvement in church services and regional worship events through dance, drama, poetry and fine arts. She performs, teaches, choreographs, preaches, coordinates and leads workshops in the area of creativity, spirituality and embodied prayer. She has also recently released a devotional CD, Song of the Beloved. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and formational ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. Life scriptures include Psalm 27; Isaiah 50:4-7; and Zephaniah 3:14-17.