Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved my Gram’s dinnerware. It isn’t anything especially fancy or particularly expensive. In fact, I believe she acquired it with coupons, piece by piece from the grocery store sometime in the 1950’s.
Johnson Brothers Friendly Village is a traditional dinnerware pattern best known for its charming depictions of idyllic village scenes. Regardless of how my Gram came by it, it was always a part of my childhood and reminds me of her. To this day, whenever I pull out a plate or bowl, I am transported back in time to hot Kansas summers spent with my Gram canning sandhill plum jelly, and holiday dinners and family celebrations.
Before she passed away, my Gram, a wealthy woman, asked each of her four grandchildren what we wanted after she was gone. For me, it wasn’t her jewels or crystal, or her silver service, or valuable knick-knacks; what I really wanted was the chipped-up Friendly Village dinnerware in the kitchen cupboard that will forever remind me of the sweet times spent with my Gram and Grandpa. Out of all the things of value that she owned, that was my choice, a seemingly worthless set of broken dinnerware.
The Ladies Bible Study group at church recently began a study in the book of Ephesians, and this week we spent some time looking at verses 15-23. I was particularly moved by verse 18:
“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance (emphasis added by me).” Ephesians 1:18
So many times, we (as Believers) focus on our inheritance – our position in Christ Jesus as heirs to his Kingdom, and we overlook the fact that before we were ever given the opportunity to become His heirs, He chose us to be his inheritance. Do you see how amazing that is? Out of all creation throughout eternity, Jesus chose us – You and Me to be his inheritance. And the verse doesn’t just classify us as an everyday, run of the mill, “oh…so I got that” kind of inheritance either. It calls us his rich and glorious inheritance. Woah… I have wondered how that conversation might have gone between God the Father and Jesus. I can imagine it was probably pretty similar to the one I had with my Gram regarding her ‘worthless every day dinnerware’ and my ostensibly foolish choice.
As I’ve pondered over this scriptural revelation, I have wondered what exactly Paul meant when he used the words ‘rich’ and ‘glorious’ to describe humanity as an inheritance. I mean, I look at humanity and I would have probably more easily chosen the adjectives: stubborn, selfish, egotistical, deceitful, arrogant, willful, cruel, and narcissistic just to name a few off the top of my head. Webster’s defines glorious as: delightful, wonderful, completely enjoyable, brilliantly beautiful or magnificent, and splendid. For rich, Webster’s suggests: precious, high-priced, dear, intense, vibrant, fruitful, luxuriant, and valuable. Definitely not words I would have chosen; I’m so glad the Holy Spirit didn’t consult me.
But you know, this revelation doesn’t just end here. Not only did Jesus choose us as his rich and glorious inheritance, but he chose to pay for us as well (1 Corinthians 6:20 – “for God bought with a high price (NLT)). Hold up, wait a minute! Paying for something seems to negate the idea of that something being an inheritance. And yet, Jesus knew that for us to be an eternal inheritance – to be allowed to spend eternity in Heaven with Him and God the Father would require a payment – a sacrifice. His sacrifice. You see, Jesus didn’t just want us for a wee while. He wants us, His rich and glorious inheritance, forever. Wow!
This verse certainly has added a new depth to my faith because it reminds me that while I might not think of myself as worthy, valuable, magnificent, or beautiful Jesus always has. I’d love to hear your thoughts on us being Jesus’ inheritance and what that means to you. Please leave your comments and questions below.