His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Ephesians 3:10-11
Manifold wisdom is wisdom that has numerous parts that are intricate and complex. The church is the instrument in which God will make known His vastly intricate wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. No single person or one gathering of people fully embody God’s manifold wisdom. Yet it’s a beautiful perspective to consider the diversity of ministry happening through the people who take steps of faith into prisons, jungles, businesses, sports teams, sororities, bars, inner cities, country roads, mountain peaks, distant islands, college campuses and church buildings. All are taking a different approach but each one is accomplishing the common goal of making known the manifold wisdom of God.
But where do we do this work?
My answer to this is: where is God calling us to go? I’ve watched people go to safe havens for their faith at Christian camps. I’ve walked with families who keep their kids out of public schools in order to give them a God honoring education at home. Then there are people who leave the comfort of their homes to enroll at the toughest school and live in the harshest community. Which approach is correct? I believe they both are.
The question of where we are supposed to do ministry is difficult to answer. The incarnation of Jesus is often an example of how to live out ministry. “ The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (1 John 1:14). God is still in the business of dwelling. That’s why Paul urges the believers in Rome to offer their bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” -1 Corinthians 3:16
“And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” -Ephesians 2:22
The Spirit of God dwells in us. This reminds me of the glorious intent of God to be with us and not leave us. I know some conclude that since Jesus dwelled among us that we need to dwell in a certain community. I do believe that is a beautiful calling but it is not a universal calling. Even in Jesus’ dwelling He travelled to different communities. There were moments where people wanted Him to stay but Jesus had to move on.
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent. -Luke 4:42
Jesus says something I think is vital for every follower of Christ: “that is why I was sent.” Knowing why we are sent is as important as where we are sent. I believe it is important to walk in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25) and know why we were sent. This “why” cannot always be constrained to a preconceived method. But we can make disciples who know why they were sent and the One who sent them.