Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Better Than Caffeine
Before you go any further today, before you get into anything else, you’ve got to know this – “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2)
Thank God. That’s indispensable for my day and the race I’m about to run. It is for you, too. And really for everyone born of God.
Every time the Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write a letter to a church, He made certain that Paul began it with the same theme. To all those at Rome and Corinth, Galatia and Ephesus, to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians, and to his dear sons in Christ, Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Paul offers the same truth—You’ve got everything! No more worries with God.
That’s so important.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians of the church at Ephesus (now Turkey), which was one of the most important cities of its day. It was like New York or Hong Kong—maybe on steroids. Everybody was busy; everybody was working at a frenetic pace because, well, you just had to. If you didn’t work hard and fast, somebody else would get the deal, close the sale, move the merchandise. You lose.
Paul knew the city and these people because he founded the church and spent some three years there. And he loved them. But Paul, father figure that he was, doesn’t first tell them how to live, he tells them how well off they are with God. Why would he do that? Paul knew that an eager heart and an energized spirit, indispensible for the sons and daughters of God, comes from the truth and is by faith. So, instead of giving them a motivational speech—“Get going for the glory of God!”—he gave them revival by telling them of the glory of God in them.
“Head’s up, Ephesians! In case you’ve forgotten, you’re really well off with God! No cares. No worries. You’re the best there is.”
Can you imagine what that might have meant to the Ephesians? In all their work, in all their trials, through all their failures, weaknesses and frustrations, comes God’s word to them: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” And Paul wasn’t simply giving them a booster shot of self-esteem, he was telling them the truth.
I so often need to hear that too. Don’t you?
I have a lot to do today. I’ve got to write a blog and send an articulate email to hundreds; make lots of phone calls to people who may not respond as I would like; sign, package and mail copies of my book; replace a sprinkler, walk the dog, tend to my broken wife, reorganize my office, work out, do some late evening counseling and meet with some people in Arizona via live video over the internet.
Sheesh! I’d better get going. Hurry up!
Wait a minute. Is there something that God might like to say to me first? There is. “Grace and peace to you, Ralph, from God your Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
You really think so, God? Because of Jesus, I’ve got everything with you? Righteousness? Holiness? Love? Hope? Future? And you live in me? All of that? “Yes.” And because Jesus took upon Himself all of my sins, I have not one worry with you? “Yes. That’s right.”
“Ready now, Ralph?” Yes, Father.
That's waaaaaaay better than caffeine, and you and I were made to have it as our starting point.