Close Menu - + Search Play Video Play Video Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Vimeo Clock

Embracing Mystery: Prisoner Economy

Reflections from Our Pastors

   Ephesians 3:1. “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles…” Paul doesn’t write from the comforts of a library or his home. He’s a prisoner – literally! And figuratively: he’s a prisoner to Christ’s will. We can think of so many in history who’ve wound up in prison, like Paul, because of their commitments to do good for others: St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Thomas More, Jean Donovan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela… too many to name or number. Playing it safe, being a law-abiding citizen? God called Paul, and God calls us to something higher, riskier, more courageous.

Ephesians 3:2. “… assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you.” The word translated “stewardship” doesn’t mean a church financial campaign. It’s oikonomia – which rightly sounds like “economy.” It’s an administration, an organization, with financial and procedural realities. Grace isn’t some invisible, ephemeral concept. Grace requires organization to happen; there are habits, expectations, responsibilities. There is an economy about grace – a peculiar way money and resources are now redeployed in light of God’s lavish goodness toward everyone, not just the achievers but toward the underachievers, the impoverished, those whom nobody likes.

People understandably say they dislike organized religion. But what could be worse than a disorganized religion, a flighty, flimsy thing with no structure or institution, which would leave grace like water spewing no place in particular, of no use to anyone?

In the next 4 verses, Paul reiterates much of what he has said earlier in his letter, taking special note that the “mystery” to be embraced is those ferociously divided against one another being One in Christ, fellow members of his Body: “The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

It’s by revelation – from God. So unity and reconciliation aren’t brilliant human ideas, ideals or strategies. It’s in the mind and heart of God. The secrets in God’s heart are out – and they come not as quirky, utopian notions, but with the power of the Creator, and with the sacrifice of our Redeemer.

← See All