My grandmother was a talented seamstress who won contests in her native Texas. Throughout my life, she celebrated hallmark occasions with a hand-sewn gift. A burgundy mohair sweater for my high school graduation. A turquoise quilt for my marriage. I’d fold over a corner of each custom-crafted item to discover her signature tag reading, “Hand made for you by Munna.” With every embroidered word, I sensed my grandmother’s love for me and received a powerful statement of her faith in my future.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians of their purpose in this world, describing them as “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (2:10). Here “handiwork” denotes a work of art or a masterpiece. Paul goes on to describe that God’s handiwork in creating us would result in our handiwork of creating good works—or expressions of our restored relationship with Jesus—for His glory in our world. We can never be saved by our own good works, but when God hand makes us for His purposes, He can use us to bring others toward His great love.
With her head bowed over her needle, my Munna hand made items to communicate her love for me and her passion that I discover my purpose on this planet. And with His fingers shaping the details of our days, God stitches His love and purposes in our hearts that we might experience Him for ourselves and demonstrate His handiwork to others.
What has God created you to do? Who can you show His love to today?
When Paul reminded his readers they were examples of God’s work in process (Ephesians 2:8–10), he was writing out of his own story. Trained in the law as a Pharisee, Paul described the kind of person he was before Jesus surprised him on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:1–5; 1 Timothy 1:12–15). Paul knew it was the work of God that transformed him from a violent advocate of Mosaic morality into someone who never got over the kindness of Jesus. He credited the grace and Spirit of Christ with replacing his moralistic passions (Ephesians 2:3) with a heart that reflected the mercy of the Savior who died for us (vv. 4–5; 5:1).