“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” Ephesians 1:16-19
In Kiev, Ukraine, I visited the gallery of Mykola Syadristy’s microminiature art. That gallery (see the website) is perhaps the most fascinating art gallery I have ever experienced. Have you ever seen an entire chessboard (with movable chess pieces) on the head of a pin? Or a rose vine sculpted inside a hollowed-out hair? This Ukrainian artist was truly a master at creating beautiful things which could not even be seen by the naked eye. The gallery itself is simply a collection of microscopes, each one set up to help you see a tiny piece of this otherwise unseen microscopic world.
I see church leaders playing a similar role for those whom they lead. I believe it is up to us as leaders to provide a lens through which people can gain a glimpse of the unseen spiritual world all around us. Paul sometimes refers (in some English translations) to this unseen world as the “heavenly realms”. Scripture is replete with references to this unseen world which is more infinite and eternal and profound than any parts of the more fleeting and temporary physical world in which we otherwise live. Paul prays that God would give the church His spirit of wisdom and of revelation and that the “eyes of our hearts” would be opened to see the magnificence of this unseen world.
Do you see, then, that it is our privilege to have access to this spiritual knowledge, to see what is otherwise unseen, and to provide glimpses of these realities to the world around us? Does it register with you that our Biblical worldview is the world’s only opportunity to see many of these spiritual truths which help explain what is going on in the more temporary physical world? The church, in this sense, becomes the lens through which the world can catch a glimpse of eternity. The world may not like the glimpse. They may even resent it. But it is the only glimpse they will get for now.
Maybe it is worth remembering that it is neither our privilege nor responsibility to make the world happy with this unseen world. Rather, ours is merely to bear witness to this very real, very old, very eternal unseen world, and to keep it at the center of our existence. The church, it seems, is very much a part of this eternal reality. It will be here long after this physical world is gone. Eugene Petersen, in The Message, interprets this truth out of Ephesians 1:20-23 this way: “The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.”
As you lead the church, then, I pray that God will grant you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation and that the eyes of your heart may be opened to see–and to help others to see–what is the immeasurable power of God at work all around us. Help them to see what is unseen. It is what we do.