11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)
Today, many churches function like a concert hall. People file in, take their seat, and are entertained by the professional performers up on stage. After the performance, folks get up from their seat and evaluate the performance on their way out the door. The hour spent sitting in a pew or seat results in little more than seeing a good show.
The kind of church that Paul describes in Ephesians 4 is more like a factory assembly line than a concert hall. Skilled trainers, each doing what they are gifted and committed to do, come in and go to work training others. Each does what they have been gifted to do. They train workers who in turn go about doing what they have been trained to do. This type of work results in the production of something good that is the result of their combined efforts. Each person does what they have been gifted and trained to do; and the finished product, though not the result of any one worker’s effort, is celebrated by all who contributed what they were trained to do.
Paul tells us that God has gifted each of us in various ways. Some are apostles, others prophets, some are evangelists, and still others are pastors and teachers. This list is not exhaustive. God has gifted us in other ways as well. Peter wrote,
10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV)
Whatever gift God has given to us is to be used to bless others and bring glory and honor to God. None of us has everything that is needed, but each of us using what we have been given will result in the Body of Christ being built up and strengthened. Each of us using our gifts will bring about unity in the faith and we will become mature followers of Jesus, together.
God has given you and me gifts, but they are not for ourselves. They are given to us like a hammer and nails are given to construction workers. We are to use our gifts to build up the Body and as we go about our work God will receive glory and honor.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You would help me to use the gifts You have given me to help build up the Body of Christ so that, together, we might grow in our understanding and love for You and Your people.