“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers..” Ephesians 1:15-16 ESV
This past weekend we enjoyed a powerful retreat experience at Jumonville Camp. It was a great time of thanksgiving for all of us. For me and our leadership team we were drawn to reflecting on God’s faithfulness expressed in all the friendships, the prayer, and financial support we have received at Locking Arms over the past year from you all.
The passage above spoke to me this week as it teaches some important things from Paul’s example and the example of the Ephesian Christians.
The first is that when faith and love are expressed in our lives they will bring life and healing to God’s family first. Look at the “Love” Chapter in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 for proof of this. Next, this lifestyle of faith and love will establish a reputation within the church. By God’s grace Locking Arms is establishing this reputation. My mother used to say that charity (love) begins at home. She was right! Paul said in Galatians 6:10, “So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”
Paul also commends the Ephesian Christians for loving God’s people in all its diversity (all the saints). How needed it is today for us to reach beyond boundaries of gender, race, cultural and socio-economic differences and denomination. We need to repent of our divisive tendency. We must first model unity within the church (out of the many, one) and then we will be a great attraction to the world. The passage reflects Paul’s awareness of the Ephesians faith and love by reputation. I can boast of your faith and love (Knowing many of you) toward God’s people by an intimate knowledge of your lives. Even though we have a great deal further to grow as the body of Christ in Pittsburgh, we are being united in faith and love.
Lastly, Paul does not stop giving thanks for them in his prayers. He developed a prayerful habit of thanksgiving concerning them all. What a shield against the fiery arrows of the evil one to train our hearts in thanksgiving! Please pray for us to be faithful to our calling with men in greater Pittsburgh, through mentoring young boys in Wilkinsburg, and in the Dominican Republic.
We pray for you and we thank God for you all.
Here is the link to our December 15th Christmas Breakfast. Hope you can join us!
Happy Thanksgiving to You & Your Family,