Thursday, September 13, 2007
A pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. A passel of papers and a gob of goo. These units of measurement mean about as much to me as cubits and hectares, talents and omers.
In Ephesians 3, Paul uses another undetermined standard: "...that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Yet, as inexact as all of the above examples are, we do know that a pinch and a dash are small compared to a passel and a gob.
If I say, "I just need a dab of paint" you know I need a small amount. If I say, "I could eat a horse" you know I'm on my way to becoming...um...large.
So, when Paul says that it's his prayer that we be filled "to the measure of all the fullness of God", he's saying a lot.
The question is "how big is the fullness of God"?
As if he's anticipated the fact that we are going to ask that question, Paul answers it in the very next phrase: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine...."
The "measure" of God is infinite.
Let that sink in: the measure of God is infinite.
No, wait. Seriously. Don't rush to the next sentence.
I said, don't do it.
Let that sink in. (That's the cue to take the time to "let it sink in", by the way, in case you didn't notice.)
Slowly chew on this now, asking what this gracious, mysterious truth means to you:
The measure of God is infinite.
By the way, this isn't the first time Paul has noted God's extravagant, over-the-top nature--nor will it be the last:
In 1:3, we are told that God has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing in Christ."
In 1:8, we are told God "lavished" his love on us...Translated literally, we could say that God's love overflows, so much so that we have plenty left over.
In 1:18 and following, we are told of the "riches of his glorious inheritance" and his "incomparably great" power. And, in case he hasn't been clear enough as to how "incomparably great" God's power is, Paul tells us that it's the same power God exerted when he raised Christ from the dead. We're talkin' serious power!
In 2:4 Paul reminds us that God is "rich" in mercy. God always has a lot of grace to share.
And, in 4:13, Paul reminds us that God has given to the church people with certain gifts so that we may "[attain] to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
There's that phrase again: "the measure of the fullness."
I love it. Let it roll around in your head and heart: "the measure of the fullness of God, the measure of the fullness of Christ."
The riches of God's mercy,
the blessing of God,
the incomparably great power of God,
the fullness of God.
I pray we will truly experience the abundance, the extravagance, the fullness of joy and hope that God offers us in Christ. So be it.
To read the next nugget in this series, click here.