However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ . . . Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.Ephesians 4:7,11-13
I like what Paul Cornish reminded us about in the previous Gem that in fact Jesus Christ is the gift. Therefore we need to distinguish between the gift and the gifts. Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift from God. He is the purchase price for your salvation. When God gave a gift He gave BIG. Even the word “big” is not BIG enough. There are no words to fully describe the magnitude of what God did in Christ. When we look at the manifestation gifts of the Spirit or the gifts of ministry we have a tendency to pedestalise them. To put them up as though they are something huge. Immensely significant. There is nothing more immense than the gift of Christ: the purchase price of your salvation. The gifts, whichever ones we are referring to, are paltry compared with the Ultimate Gift.
As Paul reminded us yesterday, the ones in church who hold significant roles are captives along with everyone else. We are all working toward making His Wisdom known. We are just simply His reps. That’s the nice way of putting it. We, who minister, are really just His captives along with everyone else, Christ’s bondslaves. Yet how often we have an inflated idea of ourselves or others lift us up and put us on a pedestal. I call it “the cult of the personality”. Where it is the personality of the one on the podium or the reputation of his/her office or name tag that makes us in awe of them. His gifts are exactly that – gifts, gifts to the body. They are not reasons to boast in who we are. We have been given the gift so He might be made known, not so that we might be well known. It is all about Him; not all about us.
I like Paul’s thought that He is the gift! Don’t let “the other gifts” fool you into thinking they are the focus. They are not, they are just means to an end. Christ is the end. If we could only hold that thought and put it into practice it may serve to help us maintain our unity as well. Our unity suffers when we allow the “cult of the personality” to take over. We must keep our unity and maintain the right perspective. If we can do that, then the church is in the position to build the captive collective in order to reach the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Once that happens it is possible to make Ephesians 3:10 a reality. “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” This is God’s plan for the church and it is of cosmic proportions.
Allow it to happen by maintaining your unity and keep your perspective in balance.
No matter how gifted you are, there will be times when you need to reach out to others and say, “I need help, let’s get together.” There’s power in ‘body unity’.Paul Cornish
“Love thy neighbor” is not a piece of advice, it’s a command.Bono
When you blame others you add to the distance between them and you, and lose the only option that works – forgiveness.Bob Gass
Today will you complain or contribute? Compete or cooperate? Criticize or compliment? Crush or create? Curse or cheer?Ian Vail