Several years ago the Smithsonian Magazine ran an article about the German-born mathematical and electrical engineering genius, Charles Steinmetz.
The author related a story that Henry Ford once called Steinmetz to his plant to solve a generator problem that his engineers couldn’t fix. Steinmetz rejected all assistance asked for a notebook, pencil, and a cot. For two straight days and nights, he listened to the generator and scribbled computations on a notepad.
On the second night, he asked for a ladder, climbed up the generator and made a chalk mark on its side. Then he told Ford’s skeptical engineers to remove a plate at the mark and replace sixteen windings from the field coil. They did, and the generator performed to perfection.
Henry Ford was thrilled until he got an invoice in the amount of $10,000. Ford acknowledged Steinmetz’s success but balked at the figure. He asked for an itemized bill.
Steinmetz wrote the following:
Making chalk mark on generator $1.
Knowing where to make mark $9,999.
Ford paid the bill.
The genius of the human mind is amazing. When knowledge and wisdom are combined with insight and perception, technological progress is possible, new inventions are created, and problems are solved.
Yet, with all of the brilliance of mankind, the depth of God’s wisdom and knowledge supersedes all of us by lightyears.
In one the great chapters of the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:10-11: “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, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There are four important facts to note about this passage.
(1) The Greatness of God’s Wisdom. It is described as “the manifold wisdom of God.” That means many faceted or multi-colored. It’s like looking into a Kaleidoscope and seeing the various shapes, hues and facets. It is diverse and diversified.
God’s wisdom is unlimited; man’s wisdom is limited. God’s wisdom is heavenly; man’s wisdom is earthly. God’s wisdom is perfect; man’s wisdom is imperfect. God’s wisdom is pure; man’s wisdom is tainted with impurity.
(2) What God accomplished in Christ. God’s eternal plan was carried out by Jesus Christ in his earthly mission, ministry, and His vicarious death on the cross for our sins. The expression “in Christ” is found 87 times in the New Testament. When we are baptized “into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27). We enjoy spiritual blessings in Christ. “In Christ we are approved of God. Receive consolation. Are partakers of the promise. And live with the eternal hope of heaven.
(3) Made known by the church. Sadly, people today denigrate the church. Ridicule it. And dismiss it as unimportant. People say, “I can be a Christian without the church.” Really? Not according to this text.
God’s manifold wisdom is made known through the church.
Part of the problem is a misunderstanding of what the church is. It’s not a denomination. Or an ecclesiastical organization composed of human rules, rituals, and regulations.
The church is God’s people. Called out people. Set apart people. A people for His own possession. The church is the Body of Christ. The Bride of Christ. And the Kingdom of God.
(4) God has a purpose for His people. The first church, Jerusalem, is a perfect picture of what that purpose is all about (Ax 2:42-47). We are to be a member of His family. To be a magnifier of His name. To be a model of Christ’s character. To be a minister of others. And to be a messenger of His love.
“There are two great days in a person’s life,” wrote William Barclay, “the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
When you delve into God’s wisdom, come to Christ, and are born into His spiritual family, you can discover why you are here and what your life is all about.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman