Of Singular Importance

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:1-10

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Dogwood Canyon Cabin | October 2019

What is your One Thing? Is it your husband? Is it your children? How about your church? Or your job? What is the one thing that shapes, directs, informs, and determines the decisions you make in life?

Most of us know the correct answer – at least what should be the correct answer: Jesus. Like the puzzled boy in the children’s message when the pastor was asking about a furry, small animal that gathers nuts and has a large bushy tail. “I know the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me!” We know the right answer. Sometimes, however, the squirrels and other distractions of life get in the way.

We know our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is singularly important: the highest priority for decision making. We may be offered a job that pays $500,000 per year, but if it involves underhanded, illegal, or immoral activities to gain that salary, we know better than take it.

More often, the issues are much more subtle. We have an opportunity for a promotion. The hours will be similar, but will more often impinge on family time and even church involvement. Do we pass up the promotion in favor of family and church life? We can choose to focus on the differences we have within our own body of believers, as well as with those of other Christian traditions, rather than seeking common ground in the confession: Jesus is Lord.

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6 [my emphasis]). That being the case our unity in Christ, our oneness as part of his body the church, our faith and identity as his children (this is the blessing of baptism), are the things that should shape our hearts, minds, plans, and decisions. 

Of course we will fail to keep these in mind as being of singular importance that they are. The one hope that belongs to our calling is in those “ones”. We turn back to him and find these precious gifts will sustain us now and forever. That is of singular importance.

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