Welcome to DAY 11 of our online Bible study on Ephesians!
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Read: Ephesians 3:1-6
My husband works for a company that makes custom cabinet doors. One day he walked through the manufacturing plant and noticed several planks of Honduras mahogany tossed into the scrap pile. The exotic lumber was accidentally planed too thin for cabinet doors, so the expensive wood awaited the fateful wood chipper.
But Jeff got permission to bring the wood home instead. He spread out the long pieces of richly colored mahogany on the driveway and showed me the varied grain patterns in the sunlight.
For the next few Saturdays Jeff worked in the garage on a secret project. When he was ready to reveal his mysterious endeavor, he shielded my eyes with hands that smelled like clean forest, and he slowly let me see. He had crafted a beautiful jewelry box.
My favorite gifts are always the ones handmade. They’re personal. They represent the care and thoughtfulness someone put into making them. But more than anything, I appreciate the stories behind these personalized gifts. Knowing this wood was destined for destruction adds meaning to me. What was worthless in one person’s eyes was wrought full of promise in another person’s eyes.
A transformation had taken place in the hands of a carpenter.
Back in Paul’s day, the Jews believed salvation was an exclusive privilege for Jews only. They honestly didn’t think the Gentiles were worth saving! But the cross of Christ brought the Jews and Gentiles together as one people in Christ.
God wants to rescue and redeem the lost and broken, the damaged and ruined.
That includes the Gentiles. And that includes you and me! This is the mystery revealed to Paul—the mystery for which he is called to share with all God’s people, and the mystery for which he is in chains.
The Jews were the insiders, and the Gentiles were the outsiders. So God called Paul to preach the gospel and to share the message of unity between the Jews and the Gentiles. But his message wasn’t always well received. It was counter to everything the Jews had grown up believing. And it landed him in prison.
Persecution is real. Not just in Paul’s day, but in our day as well, especially for Christians in other parts of the world. But even in America, where we have religious freedom, we live in a culture that runs counter to Scripture, we live in a society that challenges and resists our Christian faith. Christians are sometimes labeled and ridiculed, or worse.
But no one can stand against the evidence of a changed life.
A person’s living testimony of God’s deliverance and transformation cannot be dismissed. This is why our “But God” stories are so important. It is His light shining within us that draws others to Him.
Like the Honduras mahogany that had once been cast aside, we’ve been refashioned and repurposed, and the Holy Spirit now dwells inside us. It doesn’t matter what family we were born into or what lineage we belong to. What matters is the refurbished condition of our hearts.
A radical transformation has taken place in the hands of the Carpenter.
~ Diving Deeper ~
When have you observed something that was considered
“damaged goods” undergo a transformation for a wholly new purpose?
How is this a picture of our own redemption?