1 Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope.
15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.
We usually read this passage (not wrongly) as a “church” passage. It lays out key principles for people who worship (and sometimes study, serve or give) together. So how much more vital are these principles for people devoted to sharing their whole life together, living under the same roof in a lifelong committed union? Tension and conflicts inevitably arise in every such relationship for one simple reason: we are different. But Ephesians said diversity was God’s plan. It spoke of “accepting each other in love,” and urged all Christ-followers to “live as people worthy of the call you received from God.” Scholar N. T. Wright captured the nature of that call: “At every moment, in every decision, with every word and action, they are to be aware that the call to follow Jesus the Messiah, and give him their complete loyalty, takes precedence over everything else. In particular, this must lead them back again and again to celebrate their unity, to maintain and guard it.” *
Lord Jesus, make me the kind of partner who always speaks the truth, but who only speaks it in love. And help me to listen in that spirit as well as speak. Amen.
* Wright, N.T., Paul for Everyone, The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 43). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
Earlier this week I got to see the Royals play at Kauffman Stadium. Although they didn't do a great job of (ahem) winning...they did give me a lot consider when it comes to what it takes to be a good team. Can you imagine if a Major League Baseball manager built a team of all pitchers? Or all catchers? No, baseball managers put together teams of individuals all with a different expertise, each having their own role to play, contributing to the team's success in a unique way.
Every good leader--baseball, or not--knows that surrounding yourself with people who are more gifted than yourself and skilled at things other than your own skills is a key to success. Relationships are the same. The goal is not to always be in perfect agreement, but rather to be with others who draw the best out of you and who add different gifts and perspectives to the team you make. May you welcome the differences. They may make life more challenging sometimes, but those differences also make our lives richer and our impact deeper.
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