The past couple of weeks we have studied about Paul telling about the great joy and blessings the church in Macedonia was experiencing that he also desired to have the church in Corinth be able to experience as well. This wasn’t because things were better in Macedonia (they were under much greater persecution and stress). This isn’t because the Macedonians were first, better, or anything else. It was simply because they “gave themselves first to the Lord.”
After leaving Corinth on his second missionary journey, Paul traveled with Priscilla and Aquila across the sea to Ephesus, where they stayed and build the church in their home town.
This week we get to read the opening of a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus. From it we learn about God’s great purpose to bring everything, both in heaven and on earth, together, all under the authority of Christ. These people were like family to God and, from the letter, you can see his joy for them.
I don’t know about how you do things in your family, but in our family we love to have big holiday family feasts. For birthdays, we’ll pick a favorite meal: marinated tenderloin steaks in Opa’s famous marinate with baked potatoes, loaded with Shatto butter and boirsin, Haricot Vert, spinach salad. And of course, amazing cakes and ice cream with toppings like you wouldn’t believe.
But the best part isn’t the food, it is the family working together to bring it all together and participating together in the feast and the joy it celebrates.
1st Division: Eph 1:1-10 God provides
To prepare a great feast, you have to have great ingredients and all the right tools, equipment and skills. But, in the spiritual feast – God provides everything we need. We show up, put on an apron, and everything else is there, ready to go. God has the menu, the food, the recipes, the cookware, even the stoves and grills, like nothing we could put together. Every spiritual blessing, all with Jesus name on them.
What dish are has God put you in charge of for the feast? Are you watching the pot, or is it burning?
Are you stirring the pot and lighting a fire under someone who should be in the kitchen?
Are you waiting to say grace until the meal is served or are you giving thanks at every turn?
2nd division: Eph 1:11-14
God has a purpose in His methods.
Does God need me to help cook the feast? No. He is an amazing chef. He has all the saints and angels. But, he knows eating is only part of the joy. Being in the kitchen, laughing, preparing, tasting, that is where the fun is happening. God could have me sitting alone at a table and serve me. But, he has done so much more – he has invited me into the kitchen. He has given me an apron of my own and dressed me in it – beautifully white and stainless.
What are you waiting for – if you have an apron on, you belong in the kitchen?
3rd division: Eph 1: 15-23
Paul says grace.
Paul prays for the church, the Ephesians and you and me. He prays for faith and love. He prays for wisdom and revelation. He prays for hope, riches and power. Paul gives thanks.
This is a great prayer for the serving of the meal. Everyone is grateful and appreciative of every other cook, of every dish, of the beautiful place settings of for the host of honor of whom the celebration is called. Most of all, we are grateful to the one who brought us to this family, who gave us everything and let us be a part – to God.
Dinner will be served – don’t miss this meal, you want every course and every taste.
Don’t underestimate what you have been given. You have nothing but the finest to work with – don’t be shy about using it.
Whose hungry? Amen?