As we approach the end of another year and begin looking forward to a New Year, listen to Pauls’ Words in Ephesians 3:1-12
This is the reason that I, Paul, am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles- 2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. 8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him
With the clock winding down on 2022, this is a phenomenal passage for us to reflect upon as we prepare for 2023. I love the way in which Paul articulates such a clear purpose for his life and ministry: he was commissioned to “bring to the gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ.” I also love how he understands his particular calling fits into a larger story of God’s “eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Frankly, I’m jealous of his crystal clear understanding of two things: 1) what he received from God and 2) how he is supposed to use it! But when I put that jealousy aside for a moment, I begin to see a helpful pattern that will bring greater focus and deeper meaning to our New Year’s Resolutions. Our resolutions are typically built on our desires for ourselves, our bodies, our family, our career. We usually think about what we want and declare that we will have it this year! While not a bad way to think about goal setting, it may fall short of the kind of clarity that Paul possesses and that we need in order to live more deeply into God’s calling in our lives. On the other hand, when we begin by reflecting on the gifts and passions that God planted within us and build a future around how we might use those gifts for God’s purposes and in ways that meet the needs of the people around us, then a new kind of resolution comes into focus. As the last day of 2022 approaches, pray that God would clarify both the gifts He has given you and the reason He chose those gifts for you.