Tag Archives: Ephesians

It Doesn’t Matter

While in elementary school I was awarded a part in our class play. In fact, I got the part of the main character. Are you ready for this? The play was “The Ugly Duckling.” So – you guessed it – the main character, my part, was the ugly duckling!

It’s okay to laugh – it is rather funny! …

But now that the laughter has died down, here’s the kicker. At the point in the play where ugly duckling first appeared as the beautiful swan, someone else took over the part.

Now that’s even funnier! You can laugh again. I wasn’t permanently scarred and there was a good reason for it – everyone had to have a role to play so parts were doubled up. At least that’s what they told me!

I, obviously, still love to tell the story. It’s a good ice breaker and can quickly lighten up a discussion. Yet what I remember equally well about the play, and the most important memory, is the song we sang at the end, which summarized the theme of our little play. I still remember the words and the tune. The words went like this:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a pig pen, born in a pig pen, born in a pig pen.
It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a pig pen, if you’re really a swan.”  

What a lesson! Birthright doesn’t matter. Opinions of others don’t matter. What people choose to call me doesn’t matter. How I’m labeled doesn’t matter. As long as I know who and whose I am.
Perhaps that’s why I love the apostle Paul’s opening words to the Ephesian church.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:3-8 New Living Translation)

Wow! It doesn’t matter if we’re born in a pig pen when we’re really the most beautiful swan of all – a child of God! Can we even grasp it? “He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms … He has showered his kindness upon us.” It’s all ours! As the apostle John put it, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16) Jesus brings all of the faithfulness, kindness, and mercy of God into our lives. “From the fullness of His grace…” any and every grace He has is available for us. He will give us all the grace we need. Jesus brings grace upon grace, one blessing after another, repeated and endless favors. It is continuous, with no limit. Where one grace ends, another begins; when one blessing is no longer adequate, another begins. When one favor is no longer needed, another begins. When our needs and situations change so does the mercy of God; His mercies are new every morning. There is a blessing for old age and one for youth; there is favor for those in prosperity and for those in adversity; there is grace for success and grace for failure.

Why is God so good and gracious? Because even before the foundation of the world He took great pleasure in deciding and determining to love us. He even adopted us into His family. We are brothers and sisters of Jesus! No matter what anyone else says or thinks about us, no matter what someone else may do to us, it doesn’t matter. We are beautiful swans – because we come from good stock, the best stock of all.

There’s much more I could say (I can hear the shouts of ‘preach it brother!’). But let’s end it here. Or should I say begin here. This week read Ephesians 1:3-14 three times a day – morning, noon (mid-day) and before you go to bed. Think about it. Meditate on it. Digest it. And, along with that, remember the little chorus:

“It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a pig pen, born in a pig pen, born in a pig pen.
It doesn’t matter if you’re born in a pig pen, if you’re really a swan.”

Just see what a difference it makes.

Ever Break a Heart?

Did you ever break someones’ heart? I have.

Growing up I was fortunate to experience and know that I was loved. My parents made sure of that. I never felt I needed to earn their love and was never concerned I’d lose their love. The older I grew the more I was aware of this great love. Mom and Dad worked hard to provide a good home. They did whatever they had to do to meet my true needs. They paid attention to me and supported my endeavors. I was valued. They always wanted and strove for what was best for me.

I felt this love so deeply that it influenced my behavior and choices. Certainly there were times I behaved poorly and made poor choices. Most often I felt badly after doing so. I began to recognize that this was not so much because of any punishment or chastisement Mom and Dad delivered – in fact sometimes they did not know of the poor behavior and poor choices and I still felt badly. So why did I feel so badly? I eventually came to understand it was because I had an inner sense that I had broken their hearts. Whenever I did or chose something that was not the best for me it was a rejection of their love. And rejected love hurts. And knowing how much Mom and Dad loved me I didn’t like hurting them. It was this understanding that began to influence my behavior and choices. I was not concerned with what they might do to me but what I might do to them.

At some point along my life’s journey an even deeper reality struck me – every time I sin and make poor choices I break the heart of

God. After all, He loves me so much that He sent His one and only Son to die in my place that I could have eternal life. (John 3:16) Out of love He sent Jesus so I could live forever and always in an intimate relationship with him. He does whatever He has to do to meet my true needs. He pays attention to me and supports my endeavors. I am valued. He always wants what’s best for me. I can only imagine the pain my sin and poor choices bring to His heart – how deeply He grieves when I reject His love. I still sin and still make some bad choices – but it’s usually when I fail to stop and remind my self of His great love for me. For with that reminder comes a deep desire to avoid breaking His heart.

Yes, I know that nothing – no thing – can ever separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord. (Romans 8:31-19) I’m not worried about Him rejecting me. I am concerned about me rejecting Him and breaking His heart.

I just wonder how different life would be, how different society would be if we fully recognized the depth of God’s great love for us and behaved and made our choices in light of it. What difference would it make for you?

The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians is my prayer for all who read these words: ”I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)