“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By Brian Heller, pastor
Prisoners of the Lord
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1–3)
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
When we were growing up, I’m sure we all heard this favorite childhood question from Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Bob and Mrs. Betty Sue from down the street.
The possibilities, we’re told, are endless.
A mathematician, architect, astronaut — anything is within your reach — so long as you put forth the effort and try hard enough.
A prisoner is no one’s vocational goal.
Yet, this is what Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, proclaims as one of his vocations — a prisoner of the Lord.
This is a vocation you are called to as well — a prisoner of the Lord.
No, this is not a position you sought out on your own. Instead, it was Christ who chose you.
He chose you even after He saw those pictures you posted on Facebook having a few too many drinks at the bar five years ago.
He chose you even after He knew how you have murdered that coworker in your heart with hate.
He chose you even after He knew you committed adultery with your attractive coworker by lusting after her with your heart.
He knows everything. There’s nothing we can hide.
Yet Christ does what no one else in their right mind would do — He calls us.
He calls you with His very life — as He takes your sins and makes them His own.
He calls you with His death — the death that was meant for you.
He calls you with His resurrection — assuring you of your eternal home with Him.
Today, He calls you through His Word and Sacraments.
You, a prisoner of sin, being set free through Christ’s baptismal waters to be a prisoner of the Lord.
What does it mean to be a prisoner of the Lord?
Paul lays it out for us in the next verses of Ephesians 4.
As prisoners of the Lord, we proclaim Christ crucified through word and deed. We are to be humble and gentle with those we are called to serve.
It means, out of faithfulness for Christ and His Word and love for our neighbor, we patiently serve those Christ has entrusted to our care, catechizing them and listening to them.
It might mean driving, after an already long week of work, to administer the Sacrament of the Altar to someone who lives 45 minutes away.
It means patiently listening to someone’s story for the 58th time.
It also means bearing with one another in love. You probably know this part all too well — sitting silently, holding vigil with a family, being present.
You, a prisoner of the Lord, are truly united together with your brothers and sisters in Christ through the faith confessed in the baptismal creed.
We are prisoners together. Rejoice and be glad!
You have been called to your church work vocation by Christ Himself.
Your Master’s promise is for you: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Lord and Savior, thank You for lifting the weight of my sin. Guide me today as I serve Your people. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.