A while back, I saw this meme posted by a woman who is in a significant position of leadership in a Christian organization.
Ladies – especially those of us who lead, teach, and minister to women – we ought not be posting or teaching things like this.
First of all, it’s misleading. This is not what Ephesians 2:10 says. Ephesians 2:10 says:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Someone has taken it upon herself to summarize the verse in her own words and created a meme which makes it look like Ephesians 2:10 is being quoted. And her summary is incorrect – a mishandling of God’s Word.
Which brings me to point number two. This is not what Ephesians 2:10 means.
The “good works” God has prepared for us to walk in are seldom amazing – at least not in the way we usually define the word “amazing”. Changing diapers, doing the laundry, breaking up fights between siblings, dealing with unreasonable bosses and annoying co-workers, and scrubbing toilets can all be “good works” God has ordained for us to perform to His glory, but most people wouldn’t call those things “amazing”. They’re mundane. Ordinary. Everyday life types of things.
And that’s OK!
First Thessalonians 4:10b-12 puts it like this:
But we urge you, brothers…to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
God has called us to serve Him and one another, and that is usually plain, unglamorous, non-prestigious, hard work. Forget “amazing” – often, no one will notice or thank us for our good works, or if they do notice, they might criticize the job we’ve done.
Finally, cotton candy “theology” like this ends up being discouraging in the long run:
“God created me to to amazing things, huh? This morning I ironed, cleaned dog vomit off the rug, and spent an hour ferrying kids to various activities. That doesn’t feel very amazing. When does this ‘amazing’ thing kick in? How long do I have to wait?”
“I’m a single mom with a full time job and three kids. I barely make it to church every week and struggle to get six hours of sleep a night with all I have to do. I’m exhausted. And now you’re telling me I have to do something ‘amazing’ on top of that?”
“I’m just an ordinary woman. God hasn’t really given me anything ‘amazing’ to do. Maybe He doesn’t love me. Maybe I don’t have enough faith, or I’m not praying hard enough, or there’s some secret sin in my life that I’m not aware of. Maybe I’m not even saved. What a failure I am.”
Ladies, ideas like the one in this meme do more harm than good. If we want to encourage each other, we need to do it biblically – with what God’s word actually says and with what God’s word actually means – with good, sound theology.