“10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10
Have you ever considered yourself a masterpiece? When you look in the mirror, have you ever told yourself that God made you for a purpose? Have you ever considered that when God made you, you would go through life circumstances that would develop skills and a mindset that God could use?
These are bold statements, especially if you have experienced anything negative in your life. The last thing I want to do is suggest that God causes bad things to happen to us. As we pray for Florida and Cuba right now, the last thing that any Christian should do is say that the hurricane is God's retribution for _____________ (fill in the blank here with whatever sinful behavior that makes you angriest). However, Romans 8:28 says that "all things work together for good for those who love God." It is not that God only causes good things or that God is causing bad things to happen to build you up. Still, it does mean that through Christ, those things we would have rather not happened can be redeemed and transformed, and good can come from it. We see this clearly demonstrated through Jesus' death on the cross. One of the most excruciating means of putting someone to death, which I wish Jesus did not endure, was transformed into good, so the world could be brought to life.
In this, I find hope, not because it means that my actions against another are not important since God will transform them for something good. But, when I look back at all the things that have happened to me over my life, things that I did and others have done, I can take heart and hope that they can be redeemed and used by God for his purposes. In some ways, I see those times as already redeemed because I have been able to speak words of kindness and hope to people going through their difficult times from a place not only of distant empathy but of personal experiences of survival.
If you look at your own experiences, you too may find those places. Despite all the world tried to throw at you, God worked within them and you to bring about good. None of those experiences diminish the fact that you are God's masterpiece, knit together for your good and for the good of others. We act not because we earn God's love through our actions, but because of God's love, we can act.
As we move forward in ministry together, we must find a way to recapture what it means to be God's masterpiece for the purpose of good works, just like Abram and his descendants being a blessing to bless others. The hope for the future of Berwyn United Methodist Church rests on God's calling upon us to love and serve our community and to share the good news of Jesus Christ. That calling then lands on every one of us to answer the call with all that we are and with all that God has gifted us to live into the future that God has planned for us.
My prayer is that we will all answer that call.
This post was orignally published in the October 2022 of the Lighted Cross. Please use the links below to view the full newsletter.