ALL of Us—Created For Good Works! (Ephesians 2:8-10)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. —Ephesians 2:8-10
All of us, of every ability, are created for good works!
Imagine a new family comes to your church and one of their children, a teenaged boy, has multiple, severe disabilities. His mind will never mature past the level of a one-year-old. Every daily need of feeding, toileting, clothing, bathing and moving must be done for him. He drools. His body jerks about as his neurological system fires in uncontrollable ways. His medical and daily care has nearly bankrupted the family in every way—financially, emotionally, relationally and spiritually.
How do you think about this boy and that family? Was rejoicing your first reaction?
Since we both live in this culture, I’m guessing joy was not the first thing that came to mind! Sadness, empathy, desire for something different for that boy and family—these are reasonable responses. Even being a little frightened or at a loss for what to do for that family is natural. But it isn’t complete.
Ephesians 2:8-10 shows us a glorious and uncomfortable reality: we are that boy!
How did we become saved? God did it; “this is not your own doing.” How was it accomplished? God did it for us, “not a result of works.” And just as that boy isn’t embarrassed at his dependency on his family, we should not be embarrassed at our dependency on God for everything.
God takes credit for creating us (Ephesians 2:10) – and for creating that boy just as he is (Exodus 4:11). Jesus showed us that disability exists for his glory (John 9:1-3).
And that is why you should rejoice when a young man or woman with severe disabilities enters your presence: it is a picture of God’s glorious rescue of his church. Every time that father wipes drool from his boy’s mouth, you are seeing a picture of God’s tender, persistent, faithful, ferocious care for his people. Every time that boy attempts to push away the medicine that keeps him alive or tries to stop the therapy that keeps his body functioning, think of how you push the Father away when he is cutting away a cancer of sin on your soul that could kill you.
God has given you a gift in that family, as complicated as they are. And they are not a gift that should exist at the margins of your church. No, God has stated that ‘the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable’ (1 Corinthians 12:22). They are meant to build up your local body of believers and participate in the good works God has called you to do.
So, shock everyone the next time a family shows up with one (or more) of God’s unusual workmanship and rejoice! Even better, go looking for them and invite them into your church family. As you come to know and love them, you will be able to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15) in God-glorifying ways.
Demonstrate that Christ is more reliable, more beautiful, more satisfying than anything the culture (or your own fears) has to say about those who live with disabilities. And then watch your own joy increase as you walk in the good works Christ has prepared specifically for you.