Devotional: April 19, 2021
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Walking around the arts and crafts fair in Memorial Park during the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival is favorite memory. The sheer variety of items, and the care put into crafting so many things is amazing. One can find everything, from ceramic vessels, to metal bugs made out of bolts and scraps of metal, to all manner of miniature figures created from blown glass, to useful and clever objects carved from or constructed out of wood.
Some items may be useful, but most are pleasing to the eye. They reflect the talent of their creator. They are usually one-of-a-kind.
In this passage from the second chapter of his letter to the Ephesus, Paul calls us “God’s handiwork.” It is true! Each one of us was lovingly, and carefully created by God, who is the “Creator.”
Like each handmade art or craft item at the park, uniqueness is built into the process. God created us unlike anyone else who ever existed before. Relish your unique traits!
Yet the Apostle Paul wants to do more than just remind the Ephesians about their careful creation by God the Father. He also seeks to remind them of their purpose in life. Many arts and crafts items are created with a specific purpose in mind: inspiring wonder, or laughter. Some even have a “functional purpose.” I have a Seahawk-colored knitted hat I wear and treasure, which was handmade by the late Betty Mayer from our church.
What is our purpose as human beings? As God’s children? Our mission in life, according to the Apostle Paul, is to do good works. It is not that we HAVE TO do good works, or that we MUST DO good deeds, but we should desire to DO them. We do not earn salvation: it is a free gift of God, given to us through Jesus Christ. However, through that gift, we should desire to return God’s graciousness to us by reaching out to others.
What does it mean to “do good works”? It is not as complicated as one might think. A kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a helping hand: all are good works. An act does not need to be of heroic proportions in order to serve God. The simplest of things from you might be a life-changing experience for someone else. The beautiful mystery of it all is that we may never know the full impact of our good deeds. Therefore, we should always be aware of, and look for, opportunities to bless others.
God created us to do good works. He hard-wired that characteristic into our being. Unfortunately, this does not mean that everyone acts upon this basic design. No! We know that is not true. But this aspect of our creation does tell us that doing good, and being kind, are an intrinsic part of us. To put it another way: we are created to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Perhaps your purpose today, as “God’s handiwork” is to bless someone. Maybe God is calling you to offer an encouraging word to someone who is down. My hope is that each and every one of us will remember our loving creation by God who cares deeply for us. Let every child of God fulfill their calling to serve others in the name of Christ. Who knows? Perhaps our love will warm someone’s heart, in the same way that my hand-knitted Seahawk hat keeps my head warm, especially on cold winter days…
Lord, I thank You, for You want me to be a messenger to others of Your amazing gift of mercy and grace. Forgive me when I turn away or ignore moments when I might show others a window into Your love and care. May I take full advantage of each and every opportunity. Let me do good works for you. May I be faithful to Your design, as the master craftsman of me, Your “handiwork!” I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, and my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.