We Belong! – Week of August 2, 2021
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:19, 20
Belonging. We all ache for it, don’t we? Think back to yourself as a freshman in high school, stepping into that gigantic cafeteria for the first time. Whom would you sit by? Would anyone notice you? Those brief moments before a friend called out your name were agony! Belonging is something we all crave. We long to be accepted, to be part of something!
The Ephesian Christians in our Scripture verses had been wrestling with figuring out a sense of belonging, too. Their church was made up of people from different backgrounds, some Jews and others Gentiles (non-Jews). For thousands of years, the Jews had special status because God had promised to send a Savior through them. In this letter to the Ephesian Christians, Paul reassures Jews and Gentiles alike that they do indeed belong, not because of anything they had done or because of who they were on their own, but because of what Jesus had done and who they were in him! These Ephesian Christians were “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” God wanted them to know that there was one thing, and one thing only, that made them truly belong: their connection to Jesus.
That connection to Jesus is the same thing that gives you and me that ultimate sense of belonging. In Jesus, we are part of God’s household, his family. Jesus left his home in heaven and became a foreigner, a stranger here on earth, for us! He kept every word of the prophets that had been spoken about him, and finally gave his life for the sins of the world. Now, on Jesus’ work for us as the cornerstone, God is building his family, stone by stone, brick by brick. You, too, are part of that building because of what Jesus has done.
What reassuring words these are! Our belonging isn’t based on what we bring to the table or don’t, but on the grace found in Jesus. So whether we feel too young and inexperienced, too old and out of touch, or somewhere in between, we stand in God’s family because of the grace of Jesus. Whether our place of service is exactly what we pictured or far from it, we can rest as part of his family and trust we are exactly where God wants us, in a place where we can use our gifts to bring him glory. As we work to share with children the awesome news that they are part of Jesus’ family, we get to remember that this same message is true for us, too. In Jesus, we belong!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for making me a part of your family, your building, because of your death on the cross. Forgive me for the times when I have wallowed in self-pity, thinking only of how I don’t belong in a given place or circumstance. In those moments, turn my eyes to you and remind me of how I am built on you, the chief cornerstone. Through your blood, I belong in your family! Thank you, Jesus! Amen.
A Question to Consider: How does knowing you have ultimate heavenly belonging in Jesus help you to work as part of a team here on earth?