On display in the church1
[God’s] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- from Ephesians 3:10-11
God put his wisdom on display through the church. That’s right, the church. There’s one problem … the church is made up of people like us! What was God thinking?
Ask people who keep their distance from Christianity and for many of them their problem isn’t with Jesus or God, but with the Christians who they’ve known or seen on TV. As a marketing strategy, choosing to affiliate himself with us was a disastrous PR decision for God. I mean, have you looked at us?
We say this with all kindness. We love the church. But we’re broken. God’s choice to identify with us was, according to Paul, his way of making his wisdom known to the entire cosmos.
God knew who we could become. He knew how we could love if only we were brought from death to life. He saw in advance all the good that could be unleashed in the world if he could do his good work in our hearts.
He’s the coach who pulls the rag-tag group of players together and leads them to winning season after winning season. He’s the chef who rummages through the back of the pantry and whips together a feast with meager ingredients. He’s the entrepreneur who turns lemons into a lemonade-stand franchise.
The angels and demons are following the saga of the church. They’re watching the twists and turns we take. Our small acts of great love get played and replayed on cosmic DVRs. And our very brokenness and messy-ness only goes to magnify the glory of the God who’s at work in us.
And, here’s the thing, God makes us truly great. The great coach turns a mediocre player into someone extraordinary. The great chef transforms meagre ingredients into something remarkable. The entrepreneur turns that lemon into a life. And God does the same with us.
We’re not just a charity case, a challenge for God, a fixer-upper. We’re his dearly beloved sons and daughters. And he is making much of us, to the praise of his glory.
How does this perspective on the church shape the way you think about what’s happening when we gather for worship on Sunday or in homes during the week?