Behind the Book
The book of Ephesians is a letter written by the disciple Paul to the Christians in Ephesus. The city of Ephesus was a large commercial port city in Asia Minor (present day Turkey) located at the mouth of the Cayster River near the Aegean Sea. As a large population centered on a major trade route and the capital of the Roman province of Asia, Ephesus was considered the “Gateway to Asia”.
Theologians believe that Ephesians may have been written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, around A.D. 60–62. Despite his circumstances, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was filled with encouragement and instruction.
Faith & Work Application
In Ephesians 4:1-16, Paul explains that our differences are not to divide us, and that Jesus broke down the barriers between us with His death and resurrection and that now all are joined as the body of Christ regardless of our differences.
Let’s walk through these verses together and discern through Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians, which we’ll bring into our day-to-day work.
“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.”
– Ephesians 4:1-3
Here, we are being clearly called to work with humility, treat others with gentleness, and exhibit patience with others. To help us recognize when we’re acting out of character, think about what the opposite would look like:
- The opposite of humility is pride.
- The opposite of gentleness is harshness.
- The opposite of patience is impatience.
Reflect: How have you seen your coworkers act in humility, gentleness, or patience this week? Make it a point to recognize them for following Paul’s calling.
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
– Ephesians 4:7
Paul is reminding the Ephesians about the gifts God has given to us that provide all abilities and ministries needed by our organizations to achieve our goals and function accordingly. In fact, Paul goes on in verses 12-14 to tell us that God gave these gifts ” to equip the saints for the work” and we are to use them to “build up the body of Christ.”
Look to Romans 12:4-6 for more context, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them….”
Reflect: Do you know your gifts and the gifts of those around you? Take time this week to find where your strengths are and where you’re being underutilized.
“From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
– Ephesians 4:16
Paul closes this section of his letter emphasizing that, as one body of Christ, equipped with the gifts God has given us, when working as we should (in humility, gentleness, and patience), the body will grow and build itself up in love. Just as separate parts of our body work together to help us walk, breathe, talk, and work, we should be relying on each other at work as one body to grow and build up our organizations just the same.
Reflect: How can you work in collaboration with someone on your team in this season? Intentionally reach out to someone on your team this week for help based on what gifts they bring to the group. Author and Workmatters Institute speaker, Jordan Raynor explains this beautifully, “when we rely on others they get blessed! Because you are giving them a chance to use their God-given gifts to serve you. If the person you’re relying on is a believer, you’re giving them a chance to earn eternal rewards by helping you (see Ephesians 6:8).”
“God, I hear your calling to work with others with a heart of humility, gentleness and patience. Give me the ability to see when my actions are not aligned with these things. Make it clear the gifts you have given me and those around me. I am grateful to be joined with this team, may we finish our work week working properly to build up the body of Christ in love.”