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Ephesians 3:1–3 (NASB 95)

Paul’s Stewardship

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

Examine / Explain

The word dispensation comes from two Greek words: oikos, meaning “house” and nomos, meaning “law.” Our English word “economy” is derived directly from the Greek oikonomia, “the law of the house,” or “a stewardship, a management.” God has different ways of managing His program from age to age, and these different “stewardships” Bible students sometimes call “dispensations” (Eph. 1:9–10)

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 27.

Paul was not only in a physical prison but also a “spiritual” one. He was under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Under this imprisonment, he had the purpose and meaning to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. God charged Paul with the dispensation of grace to the non-Jews, as they, too, are now able to believe and be saved as one people to Jesus Christ. This was a mystery revealed after Jesus rose from the dead.

What is the application?

I grew up in the Catholic church and one of my biggest memories from that time as a child is of “the mystery” of the gospel. Granted, I was a child, and my memory is terrible, but I felt like we could never understand what it meant to be in our faith because it was a mystery. Why do we do what we do if it is such a mystery? Now I understand my life is the mystery. We, as Gentiles, being grafted into the kingdom of God was not understood until Jesus died for all of our sins. We are all now in the same house. The house of grace and mercy. A house that we are to surrender to because of who the house belongs to. Do I live as a prisoner to the owner of the house? Do I go when He says go, and stay when He says stay? Do I serve Him even if I am in a physical prison? Paul is still ministering from prison, and I can’t even take my mind off the uncomfortableness of my life to minister to those around me. I have been placed in this part of the world, this part of the country, this part of the state, this city, this community, the place where I make an income, in the community of believers, and in my family, and I can’t shut down the distractions that well up in me. I get that there are triggers from our past traumas, and we work through those as we go through life so that I can help others who go through the same traumatic experiences. But when I am constantly being triggered lately, how do I help others if I can’t even get out of my own head? Do I not have enough faith? Am I not turning to my savior? Two things can be true at the same time. So, am I not seeking Jesus in those moments, AND we must suffer for His sake? My suffering should bring me to His feet, yet I struggle to turn to the Father. Do I still see Him as this distant man who doesn’t really care what I do? Is that emotions talking? I know He sees me. I know I can talk to Him. I know He will answer and bless me. I know life will be hard. We are called to hard things. Is that my problem? I don’t want to be uncomfortable. I want an easy life and to deal with people in multiple environments—work, home, and church. Because my feelings control my actions, I would rather just shut down and find something less uncomfortable. Courage is doing the hard things even when we are scared. Is failure allowing fear to dictate my actions? How do I overcome all of this? I know we are more than conquerors in Christ, but I also know we are His sheep. We are to listen to His voice above all other things. Are my ears plugged? Can I hear above the noise? Are my ears ringing from the constant hum of the world?

My response!

Father, 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10. (Deep breath). I want to ask you to stop the noise, but I believe that is the wrong request. I think I should ask that I hear You through the noise. I need to stop long enough to be able to focus. Stopping the noise is stopping the world. I am to reach the world, and how can I reach those around me if they are stopped? The stopping is You, but it’s on a personal level. Finding the savior of the universe has been right next to us for eternity, but when we stop and open our eyes, there You are. I need help! My mind can’t cut through the noise on its own. Again, not to be rescued from the noise but to live in it with Your peace dictating my movements. To be regulated enough to be able to minister to those around me without bleeding all over them from my wounds and trauma. What good am I if my scars are re-opened and bleeding out? They see a dysregulated man who is not living in peace, which lends to the fact that they won’t see Jesus in me. But, overcoming and finding that peace that only comes from You would stir their hearts. That would cause them to be curious. Help me get back to Shalom Shalom. The perfect peace and authority over chaos. Amen.






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