There is a passage in the New Testament that is among my favorite in the entire Bible and that’s saying something, considering that the most widely read literature in all history is more than 1,000 pages in length and includes 66 discrete books written by about 40 people over a period of thousands of years.
The passage is Ephesians 2:8-10. Ephesians was written by Paul to a church in Ephesus, in present-day Turkey, where he had invested three years of his life leading and teaching the church he planted there:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
“Ephesus” means “desirable” and, given its history as a Greek city-state, economic status and geographic location, it was a desirable place to live in the ancient world. I think Paul’s three years at Ephesus constituted the longest single consecutive period of time he spent in one place on any of his four missionary journeys.
So what’s the significance of Ephesus that makes this passage my favorite? And why should you care?
The particular word “poiema’ is the ancient Greek word for “workmanship,” and we translate it in English as “poem.” See where this is going now? Paul is telling his readers they are each a poem, the handiwork of God, His particular and unique “workmanship.”
“Paul is telling his readers they are each a poem, the handiwork, of God, His particular and unique workmanship.”
What’s this got to do with anybody working on Capitol Hill (or anywhere else for that matter)? The Hill is a tough place to work, competitive, full of smart, ambitious and talented people from all over the country.
If you can “make it” on the Hill, you can make it anywhere, as the only comparably tough professional environments that come to my mind are Wall Street and Silicon Valley.
So heading to work each day can be exciting and rewarding, with results that are sometimes extremely meaningful for you as a person, as well as for the nation, and even the world. I know what that feels like.
But for all the same reasons, it can also lead to intense disappointment, confusion, gnawing doubt and a sense of futility about your career and your purpose in life. I know what that feels like, too.
If you came to the Hill as a believing Christian, odds are having such emotions is not what you expected. But, if you are God’s workmanship, you are, no matter what the outward circumstances of your life may be at any given moment, one of His poems.
He put you here for a reason, and it involves doing good things He shaped for you specifically to accomplish. And if He put you here, there’s no way you won’t ultimately become the poem He wrote you to be.
If you aren’t now a follower of the risen Lord Jesus, think about this: It’s not by chance that you are reading this post. It’s an early stanza in the poem that is you. Whether you work in Congress or anywhere else for that matter.
And, either way, believer or not yet a believer, remember that I’ve “been there, done that,” and, if it would be helpful to talk further about these things, check out my “office hours” in the sidebar on the right side of this page.