And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:6, NLT).
The revealing of God’s plan to the Ephesians and other Gentile believers came at great cost—the death of Jesus and the imprisonment and sufferings of Paul. Paul’s troubles started when the Jewish religious leaders balked at the good news he proclaimed (Acts 13): “. . . through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God” (Acts 13:38-39, NLT). This message led to Paul’s arrest when he revisited Jerusalem after starting churches in Gentile cities (Acts 21).
The greatest attraction of the good news—”Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God”—can also be my greatest stumbling block, that is, everyone. Everyone includes the people whom I do not want on my A list: pushy, insensitive, hurtful, abusive, picky, annoying, overbearing, self-important, impatient people—in other words, people just like me. God wants me to share the kingdom; there’s enough “endless treasures” (v.8) for all of us.
Father, thank you for making a place in your kingdom for me and for giving me the privilege of spreading the good news. Forgive me when I fail to honor others who share equally in the riches your Son’s death provides for us all. Give me grace to embrace other believers with genuine love. Fill me with compassion for those who do not yet know about the endless treasures available to them in Christ, in whose name I pray, Amen.