The AMI QT Devotionals from March 20-21 are provided by Pastor Charles Choe of Tapestry Church, Los Angeles. Charles, a graduate of UC Riverside and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Grace, and they have three children: Chloe, Noah, and Camden.
Devotional Thought for the Day
“And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.” (Mark 3:14)
In my youth I was totally confused. I was a tall skinny kid, a wanna be athlete, trying so hard to fit in with the cool kids, even going through a phase of wearing Cavarccis to look like MC Hammer for a while, and then finally, feeling somewhat comfortable with the a more preppy look. In other words, I was totally insecure about what others thought of me and without much sense of my place in the world. Then I met Christ, and there is where I found myself. I realized in Him I was first and foremost a child, the beloved son, of the King.
In ancient times, names were extremely important, and naming was an act of great importance and power; names conveyed an essence. So if you went through a great change in life, you almost always had a change of name. Abram becomes Abraham, Jacob becomes Israel, Saul becomes Paul. And some had multiple names, because it showed how multi-faceted they can be. And almost everyone had a personal name, a true name, the way you thought of yourself, and you wouldn’t necessary share it everyone, only with the ones you had special connection with, because to some degree, it gave that person some power over you. Like when Moses wanted to know God’s name, God says, “I am who I am.” Scholars believe this is Moses trying to get some leverage over God; to know one’s name gave you special access and power.
You might say today, “Yes, but that was back then, they were superstitious; today, names don’t mean anything.” Really? So why do we spend millions of dollars and hire consultants and say, “Please name this company, name this product.” It’s for the same reason why Martha Kostyra became Martha Stewart, or why Reginald Kenneth Dwight chose Elton John as his new name, or why did Marion Michael Morrison become John Wayne? Because you can’t have a cowboy named Marion, can you?
In our passage today, Jesus names the twelve to be apostles. The world appointed, poiema, is used, which is the word used for an artist creating a work of art. In other words, he didn’t look at the twelve and say, “These guys have what it takes” and so he named them apostles. No, he picked them, to do His work in them. This is what Paul meant in Ephesians 2:10, when he said, “You are God’s “workmanship” (poiema), created to do good works. Like an artist crafting a work of art, a poem, painting, or sculpture, God is a Master Artist over our lives.
Do you see then, everything that you are and that has happened to you—your gender, your nationality or your parents, or even your troubles—all of these things are just brushes or hammer and chisel, something the Great Artist has been using and will use to make you into a work of art. Think about that. A work of art, of course, is valuable and beautiful, but even more, it’s an expression of the inner vision of the artist. That’s you—you’ve been made for some good works he’s prepared beforehand, and that inner vision of God has for you, that’s your true identity and calling.
The beauty of the Gospel is that we have a name, that God knows us by name. We have been plucked out of the depths of hell and been given a new name. Even more than that, what gives you unique purpose, what gives you a sense of distinct value, is when you see yourself able to live out your calling.
Prayer: God, teach me to be generous as You were to me. Increase my capacity to give both of money and time to those who are in need. Give me a greater understanding of the Gospel, what You did on the cross on my behalf, so that giving to those who are hurting becomes an increasingly joyful action. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Judges 14
Lunch Break Study
Read Ephesians 2:1-10: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Questions to Consider
- What is at work in the world and in the sons of disobedience?
- How does God counter the work of the evil one in the world and in our hearts?
- How have you seen the cosmic picture of what God is doing in your life in light of verse 10?
- Satan, who is referred to as “the prince of the power the air” in verse 2.
- He works through the love of his Son, showing us mercy even while we were in sin.
- Personal response.
Before you go sleep tonight, mull on this:
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” -Mother Teresa
In the Lord’s eyes, you are that important. Does that do anything for you? It should!