Those of you who follow these almost daily ramblings will note that it has been several days since I posted my last “In the Office” reflection. That’s because I’ve been “Out of the Office” spending some time with my mother, who had knee-replacement surgery last week. I’m happy to report that the procedure went well, and she is now back at home, engaged in the rest and recuperation that I trust will lead to her increased mobility.
Naturally, I’m grateful that I was able to be with my mother during this process, but I must confess that the time away from my normal routines always leaves me feeling a little guilty. Being the Type-A “borderline workaholic” that I am, I’m often tempted to view any interruptions to my normal ministry rhythms as a shirking of responsibility. But in His goodness, God has given me a gift in the readings from today’s Daily Office, which includes these words from Ephesians 1:1-10:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
I know of few passages that remind us so powerfully that our hope consists not in what we are able to do for God but in what God has done for us. “He blessed us in the heavenly realms. He chose us in him before the creation of the world. He predestined us for adoption to sonship. In Him we have redemption through his blood…in accordance with the riches of grace that He lavished on us. He made known to us the mystery of his will.” And all of this, of course, is “to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One he loves.”
I’m glad to be back in the office, and I look forward to the work that the Lord will allow me to do today and in the days ahead. But even more, I’m glad to be the recipient of such unmerited, overflowing, glorious grace. May we rest in that grace today — and then offer our efforts joyfully to God, trusting that He is the one who works in us both to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose (Philippians 2:13).