Summary: The greatest heartache comes when people live lives that don't match what they know.
Starting this week and going into next month - there will be hundreds of thousands of students graduating from schools all around our country. High schools – colleges – post graduate – grade schools, nursery schools – you name it. We are officially full swing into graduation season. Sometimes sitting through a graduation ceremony can be a laborious trial. If you’re a student you have to listen to all the dignitaries that come to give speeches. If you’re a parent or relative you have to listen to that long, long, long, long list of names that have be called as each student walks across the stage to receive their diploma. Over the years I imagine that I’ve sat through at least a couple dozen graduation ceremonies and have the privilege at speaking a few. One the things that just about every graduation ceremony has in common is the “full potential speech.” Whether it is given by the valedictorian or the person receiving an honorary degree which they didn’t work for from a Catholic University – the speech is almost always the same. “You have worked hard to get to this point- you’ve been given something of great value, a great education – now go do something with it. Make sure you use it to reach your full potential. Don’t think small as you leave these hallowed halls – think big – continue to grow –make sure you strive to become all that you are dreaming about today.” How many people have heard that speech before? Of course you have.
That’s kind of what Paul is saying to each one of us today. As he comes to the end of the third chapter in Eph., his prayer is that the believers in Ephesus would get a grasp of who they are and what they’ve been given. But it’s more than just that you see, because he wants them to put what they know to work. This is the second prayer in the book of Ephesians. The first prayer was in chapter 1:15-23 and following, and Paul prayed for enlightenment. Here he prays for enablement. The first prayer was “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” That was chapter 1
- and now he says “Oh, God, I pray that they might begin to do what that power enables them to do. So this is a vital prayer. Paul wants to bring the believer to the place of maximum power output. He wants full functioning Christians. There's nothing as tragic as those who aren't using what God has given them. The greatest heartache comes when people live lives that don't match what they know. That's a heartache. You know, we ought to be able to live up to what we know. We ought to be able to live up to what we understand. We ought to be able to take this knowledge and make it part of our life.
Ill - marine biologists conducting an experiment was with a pike. Pikes are long, eel-spaded fish with long blunt noses. They get to be about 4.5 feet long and weigh around 50 pounds. Whenever it was feeding time the marine biologists would dump a large bucket of the minnows in the tank where the pike was. Minnows are pikes favorite meal, you know. The pike would swim rapidly around the tanks gobbling every minnow in sight. And in a very short period of time, the pike would have devoured every minnow in the tank. Here’s what they did to the pike. This time at feeding time, they decided to lower a glass cylinder into the tank, so that the pike would be inside of the cylinder. Because it was clear glass the pike could not tell that there was any change in his environment. The next thing the marine biologists did was to pour another large bucket of minnows into the tank. Immediately the pike began to scurry and scramble aggressively trying to devour his dinner, his favorite meal, minnows. Unfortunately, his hunger would go unfulfilled. With every lunge, with every attack, the pike would continually bump his nose into the glass wall of the cylinder. Surprising, after a very short time, the pike stopped lunging. The pike stopped trying to attack the minnows in any shape, form, or fashion. The pike just stood motionless expect for the movement of his fins to keep him afloat. Once the marine biologists saw this, they removed the glass cylinder. Consequently, the minnows were swimming all around the pike, right in front of him. He could have started his dinner at any moment, but he didn’t. He just stood there. The pike had given up to the point where he literally staved to death. Most of us I think live way beneath our privileges as Sons and daughters of the king.