June 1, 2011
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Eph 2:10 (NIV)
Dear Canaan EMers and friends,
It’s June and you know what that means!
School is almost over. Summer vacations and missions are about to begin. The Day of Pentecost (June 12) is just around the corner! And high school and college seniors are about embark on a new journey in life.
I really enjoyed my years of transitioning into adulthood. The new freedom and opportunities to enjoy life really only started when I went to college. But it was also accompanied by new responsibilities and anxieties about an uncertain future. At times, I swung back and forth between feeling confident and enthusiastic and feeling cynical and burdened. These mood swings occurred during times that I saw my adult life as nothing more than “getting” or “advancing.” They also occurred during times when I did nothing but serve in church out of obligation. I quickly lost interest in God and became jaded about the church as a result of a self-serving or works-oriented way of thinking.
At this point, the Apostle Paul spoke a message to me in Ephesians 2:1-10 that offered a very clear contrast to these attitudes that I harbored. Here he reminds the Ephesians (and us) that we are saved by grace through faith. But the reason we are saved is so that God “might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (v. 7). In other words, we are saved in order to show the world how wonderful God’s grace is. Indeed, our grace-filled lives are God’s “handiworks,” which are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (v. 10).
I’ve since realized that my one life was meant to be God’s handiwork of grace. All that I do is for the purpose of building a signpost that announces God’s goodness and grace. Indeed, I was most joyful when Betty and I consciously committed to building a marriage (and later, a family) that resonated with God’s desires. We were most happy when we truly believed that our work was a way to show God’s amazing love for the world. Our participation in church was most rewarding when we felt like we were building a community of justice and mercy. We were thrilled that God wanted to use our Asian Americanness as a way to enrich the church and transform the world.
So whether you are preparing for busy summer or a life transition, I hope that you’ll never forget that you are God’s handiwork. Your life is the story of God’s grace. Our world is desperate to see your good works, the evidence of hope in Christ! And I believe that there is no better place to be God’s handiwork than here at Canaan!
Tim Tseng, Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries
Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church