Tuesday, April 23 2024 - 10:13 AM

Sharing Scripture — September 30, 2023

Ephesians in the Heart

 

For use: September 24 – 30, 2023
Texts: Ephesians 1 – 6

 

100 days of rejection was all he needed.

Jia Jiang, keynote speaker this week for Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (TFA) made an unusual decision after leaving his corporate career. Wanting to learn to be unafraid of a “no” answer, Jiang set out on 100 days of rejection.

In his book Rejection Proof, and a TED talk, he describes the scenarios he embarked upon to strengthen his willingness to ask and not be afraid of refusal. These experiences were random and varied. Some bordered on the absurd, such as asking at a Krispy Kreme donut shop if they could make a donut shaped like Olympic rings. To his surprise, they did and didn’t even charge him for the masterpiece. Another included approaching a security guard and asking for $100, to which the stranger promptly responded, “No!” Other arbitrary requests brought positive responses. Walking up to someone’s home and asking if he could play soccer in the backyard was met with a yes from the homeowner.

With each request, two things happened. First, it became easier to make a request. Second, it became easier to avoid worrying about how he would feel if the answer was negative.

The new-found freedom learned from 100 days of rejection gave Jia the confidence to strike out in new directions as an entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

In Ephesians Paul shares how Christians can live a Christ-like life. Coupled with the assurances of God’s plan and the working of the Holy Spirit, we are challenged to accept Christ’s sacrifice for us. We learn in chapter 2 the extent to which Christ went in order to unite Jew and Gentile. There is no room for hatred. Giving up age-long biases, and prejudices in exchange for a life of peace may seem like an easy exchange, but it can be difficult for one who might be fearful of what others may think or say.

Choosing to live a life of peace would seemingly be the likely choice, but it can be complicated to go against the status quo, against hatred that has been passed down for generations, against what one has learned from family. When not afraid of rejection, even from family, one can experience the peace and the plan that God has for those committed to accept, to follow, to share. In the same way that Jia Jiang learned to be rejection proof, we can learn to be determined to live a life of courage, confidence, and faith.

 

For Reflection

 

Connecting: Paul mentions “undeserved grace” twice in Ephesians 1 and again in chapter 3. Can you think of a time when you received something undeserved? Share with a partner or with the class the reaction you had to receiving something undeserved.

Sharing: In reading Ephesians, Paul gives reasons why he is reaching out to the Gentiles. These include:

  1. Paul was the most likely person because of his success
  2. God wanted him to help everyone understand the mysterious plan that is for everyone
  3. God used Paul to help people understand the breadth and depth of God’s love
  4. God planned for Jew and Gentile alike to share this message with others
  5. Other

Applying: What fears do you have that might be getting in the way of sharing with others what you have found in Jesus? Ponder the statement Paul makes in Ephesians 1:2: “I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!” How does this knowledge and assurance of peace make it easier for you to share with others?

Valuing: Read again the words in Ephesians 2:8-10, paying specific attention to the words, “. . . we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. . .” Express gratitude to God and ask what works there are for you to do.

 

~ Joy Veverka

 

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