August 16 - Ephesians 4:7-13

Friday, August 16, 2013

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:  “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”  

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

What are those things you do well?  What are those things that you have become skilled at because of special training? What are those things that you were born to do well?

We have been given these things, these talents and gifts in order to serve the body of Christ.  Pastors, prophets, evangelists, teachers and apostles are appointed by Jesus Christ to equip the entire body of Christ for works of service.

Their job is not simply to be a pastor or a prophet, evangelist or teacher or apostle. It can’t stop there.  They are appointed to equip the people around them in order to build the body of Christ.

This is a big deal.

Our skills, talents and gifts are to be uncovered … discovered by those who have been appointed so that the body of Christ might grow.  Whatever method they might use, it is to be for the whole church and not just a single congregation.

One of my father’s greatest joys was finding those within his congregation who had gifts to do different things.  When a young (or old) person would express an interest in ministry, he found ways for them to begin that journey. He spent a great deal of time simply talking to the people in his congregation, finding out what it was that they loved to do.  We had youth leaders who could never have imagined doing the things they ended up doing, but because Dad listened to them, he discovered their passion and that their gifts lay in leadership.

He encouraged great music in the church because he knew that talent should never be squandered and was a gift God would use to bring unity to the body of Christ. He uncovered Sunday School teachers in people no one would have expected and then gave them the foundation from which they could grow.

Pastors, prophets, evangelists, teachers and apostles are all servants.  They become less so that those around them might blossom and grow and then the body of Christ grows and become mature.

There is more to this journey … but it will only be found when we build each other up and move toward unity as God’s Church.