10 “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, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 3:10-11, NIV
3 “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.“
Genesis 37:3, NKJV
“The complaint that church is boring is never made by people in awe.”
This word “manifold” is very curious and quite engaging. In the Old Testament this particular word is used to describe Joseph’s coat of many colors. I can only imagine that it was striped like a rainbow, or maybe even tied-dyed. Whatever it was, Joseph was quite distinctive as he wore his colorful coat.
Paul in Ephesians 3, intentionally borrows this word to explain “the manifold wisdom of God.” Paul’s use of this dramatic imagery of Joseph’s coat to describe God’s wonderful wisdom that has saturated the Church. There is something variegated in this wisdom (balance, comprehension, understanding) that infuses His Church.
We are people of color. There is wisdom given to each believer. This defines us, and portrays us. God’s own wisdom, defined quite incredibly in our hearts and spirits, describes our coloration and hue.
Some are merciful, and others are bold. Some are very gentle, and others are “prophetic” and sharp. A few are wise, and others can endure much. But our personal coloring should never threaten another. Those who see only blue– should never be shaken when another sees yellow.
Our fleshly attitudes would militate against this understanding. We seem to insist that everyone be green, or yellow even. But this isn’t how God through the Holy Spirit comes to our spirits. We should receive each brother and sister, in the wisdom that God has chosen, to flow and grow. It seems we are each a “prism” that reflects a certain light.
We can see the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. They are distributed (but definitely never ‘dumped.’) They come out in many ways through many different personalities and backgrounds. But it seems we are slowly learning that each believer has a definite place and purpose.
I suppose that pride confines us into something that is restrictive. We definitely prefer ideas and proclivities we can control (or maybe label.) Perhaps, it is we that need to be adjusted. We should see the broadness of God’s grace, and how each one is touched and shaped.
The Church is God’s unique reservoir of wisdom and grace for the world. We gleam with the certain light of His presence and goodness. Each believer, radiates an aspect of grace from the heart of God.
We are indeed the “Church of Many Colors.”