How often do you hear “Thank you” from your colleagues at work? From your boss? From your subordinates? How often do you say “Thank you” to your colleagues?… Paul’s example in Ephesians 1:15-16 can inspire us to share our gratitude for others with them. In this passage, the Apostle Paul tells the recipients of his letter that he thanks God for them. He doesn’t just thank God. He shares his gratitude with those for whom he is thankful.
In Ephesians 1:15-16, Paul tells the recipients of the letter that he gives thanks for them, in part because of their “love for all of God’s people.” (The original language reads literally, “love for all of the saints.”) You might be tempted to read this phrase quickly and move on. But if you stop for a moment and think about it, you might wonder about loving all of God’s people. All? Really?
Biblical faith is not simply giving assent to theological claims. Rather, biblical faith is going a step further. It is not simply believing that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Rather, it is also putting your trust in Jesus to be your Savior and your Lord. When you read the word “faith” in the New Testament, you should think of it in terms of trust that includes but goes beyond belief.
This account in Numbers 11 teaches us two important lessons that are relevant to our journey as leaders executing God’s plan for us. The first of these lessons is that every vision will need to be staffed. God’s vision for you is so grand and full that you can’t do it alone… The second lesson that we glean from this passage is that God must be the one to choose the proper staff in the proper time.
Leadership formation, at least in the biblical sense, seems like a long, painful process. We live in an age of abundant, easy-to-consume leadership advice. But, as others have noted, learning about leadership is not the same as becoming a better leader… Rather, the story of Joseph reminds us that the formation of a leader’s character through suffering, often over long periods of time, is critical.
Psalm 100:3 reminds us that we belong to God: “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” We belong to God because he made us. He made each one of us individually. And he made us to be his people together… What difference does it make that we belong to God? A huge difference, really. The fact that we belong to God can transform our lives.
The Bible uses “faith” in a different way. Though faith does go beyond what reason can prove, it is solidly based on experience and thoughtfulness. Faith is not wishful thinking. Even less is it believing something in spite of strong evidence to the contrary. Christians have faith in God because of what God has revealed about himself in history, in Scripture, among his people, and most of all in Jesus Christ.
I don’t believe there is only one, simple “in a nutshell” summary of the Christian life since it can be rightly seen from a number of perspectives. But, if we want to summarize our life in Christ, we might take the lead from Paul in Ephesians 1:15. Here, he mentions two core qualities in the lives of the Christians who are reading his letter: faith and love. If you had to put the Christian life in a nutshell, you couldn’t do much better than this: faith and love.
If we seek to glorify God in our own strength, we will inevitably fail. Yet God has supplied us with his own strength through the Spirit. Thus, with divine help, we can live for God’s glory. Moreover, the Spirit helps us not only to glorify God but also to share in his glory… With the Spirit’s help, we glorify God, not only in our actions, not only in our thoughts, not only in our feelings, but even in our very existence.
The Christian Gospel offers a stirring hope: Someday, God will reign fully over every square inch of heaven and earth, uniting all things in Christ, making all things right, so that we might flourish in the peace God intends for us and so that creation might be all that God intended it to be. We will be fully united with God and with his people, and he will wipe away every tear, replacing our sorrow with joy… Through the Spirit, we begin to experience the life of the future today.