Getting Lost in the Weeds

Written by Rhonda Alstott

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:1-6).

I titled this blog “Getting Lost In The Weeds” because for too long, the focus on this passage has centered on the opposing sides of chosenness and predestination, an argument that has been debated by theologians for centuries. When we do this, we get lost in the weeds and we miss some richness of the text. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, we should remember that salvation is an act of grace by God through Jesus Christ. This was the plan from the foundation of the world.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds them from the beginning greeting that grace and peace are found in Jesus. The entire letter reminds this town of Christians, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, that they are to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. Before Christianity came to Ephesus, it was steeped in idol worship. Acts 19 portrays Ephesus as a town steeped in confusion because their lives and livelihoods were being built around idolatry. What a spiritual shift to go from worshiping false deities to putting your faith and trust in a God, motivated by love, who gives salvation as a free gift of grace. Paul reminds them of this time and time again in this epistle. He explains to them throughout the letter that their walk should be different since experiencing this gift and so should reflect it. Their walk should be different and reflect the values of Jesus.

In verse 2, Paul begins with “Blessed be the God and Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Blessed be” in the original Greek is eulogetos, a word with eulogia (blessed) as its base. It means to “speak well of” and you can see how our word eulogy comes from this. At a funeral, people are asked to eulogize the deceased, and a well-written eulogy will speak well of the one we are there to honor. So how do we, as Christians, speak well of our Heavenly Father? Do our actions, motivations and words speak well of our Heavenly Father? Does our walk?

The month of July was the month where I found myself sitting through a few unexpected funerals, all with well-delivered eulogies to honor godly people. Their lives, as Paul says in verse 6, brought praise of His glorious grace. I don’t know about you, but sitting through a eulogy always has me asking, “What will be said about me?” “Will I wield my power as a force of good to build God’s kingdom or will I use it to destroy?” This past year has shown me the fragility of faith, friendships, and life. It has shown me that nominal Christianity (Christian in name only) is alive and well and so is pettiness. I have realized I can continue to dwell on all of this, which is a form of idolatry itself, or I can speak well of God the Father of Jesus Christ, who gives not only His grace but His eternal peace.

Our lives as children of God should cause others to see His glory. Our lives should point others to who God and Jesus really are. Our lives should cause others to glorify and speak well of God and the grace He has given us. Our eulogies are being lived out every day. May they point the world to Jesus.