In the summer of 2011 a rumor caused officials in the southern Indian state of Kerala to investigate the contents of the vaults beneath the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple. The sixteenth-century shrine to the Hindu god Vishnu was well trafficked, but its depths had been neglected and grown mysterious over the centuries. Still, not even the most outlandish of tales matched the reality of what local investigators found—gold coins, sparkling jewels, and solid-gold statues of gods and goddesses totaling an estimated $22 billion. Rarely has the phrase “treasure trove” been so apt a description!
This treasure had been unnoticed for decades, maybe centuries, while people went about their business. Many Christians go about the business of going to service, choir practice, and small group without comprehending the riches under their feet—the love of God that serves as the foundation for the church.
Riches are an underlying theme in today’s passage. In verse 16 Paul reminded the Ephesians that God bestows gifts—strength in this case—“out of his glorious riches.” And then interceded on their behalf in the hope that they would grasp “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (v. 18). Paul went on to say that the value of this love surpasses the value of knowledge (v. 19).
Paul introduced a conundrum when he asked that the Ephesians know this love that surpasses knowledge. And perhaps here we see a seam between the limits of human language and spiritual realities. Paul concluded with a salute to God’s wealth of resources, God’s ability to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (v. 20). Even the incredible riches found in the vaults beneath the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple pale in comparison to deep and abiding love of our God.