Tag Archives: gifts

Equipped for service

325064_2851984026582_830175113_oEphesians 4:11-13 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

The idea of gifting and that each person has a unique gifting is certainly a familiar one; however, there is a good chance that we need to widen our perspective. Take all of Ephesians 3 and the first section of chapter 4 as your context. Paul describes the radical love of Christ in chapter 3, and then goes on to make several radical statements about how the church is supposed to represent that love. Our lives ought to be worthy of this calling, and it is with that foundation that Christ gifted each of us.

In 4:12, we see the purpose clearly – we have our gifts so that we can be equipped for service, and so that the Body might be built up for Christ’s glory. Verse 13 tells us what each man must do. In present day language, it might go something like this:

“Look, each one of you has a skill set. But those skills and gifts are not an end in themselves. We have been called by Christ and given our lives to Him, and our purpose now is to create, in our interactions and daily lives, a picture for the world to see that represents the Love that has been showered on us. Every man must apply himself to growing in Christ. Just as children grow physically, we need to grow spiritually so that each part of the Body is mature and functioning. The people in Ephesus that don’t know Jesus, they should be drawn in by their interactions with you, and that will happen when each of us pursues Christ above all else.”

Don’t be passive. You have certain strengths that will bless other people. Those strengths must be put into action, and they must be under the headship of Christ and used with this over-arching perspective.

———-  In what area of ministry are you currently using your God-given gifts and abilities?

Resolved: To innovate for God’s glory

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things. -Jonathan Edwards

Romans 12:6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

We’ve all been given gifts to use for the glory of God. What are yours? Better question: what are you using those talents to accomplish for the Kingdom of God? Sometimes we think we’re just supposed to go along doing the status quo, not really trying to think deeper or go farther.

But what if the Lord blessed us with gifts, not just to do what seems easy or comes naturally, but to do hard things and step out into the unknown at times? What if we used what we’ve been given to innovate for His glory?

I spent a good portion of my life trying to fit in and do what was expected of me. Maybe part of that is having been in the military, where expectations were largely that I comply and obey. I don’t know if that’s it, but whatever the cause, I felt I was supposed to do what people expected of me and it made me afraid to move on new ideas or do anything uncomfortably different from the norm.

Then I realized it didn’t matter what people thought or wanted. I started asking what God wanted. When I began acting for His glory, using the gifts He gave me, whether or not the stuff I was doing made sense to other people, it gave me a satisfaction of knowing that I was living out my calling.

We’ve got a new year ahead of us, and the thing is, it’s never too late to start living for God’s glory. How will you use your talents and gifts to do that?

Wise men seek Him and worship

Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Long before Jesus was born, there was a group of people who studied the prophesies of the coming Messiah, hoping that one day they would be among those who would crown Him as king.  The Magi were men of the east who had been watching for the Promised One for many years, each generation passing along the information to the next.  Imagine being among those who finally got to see the Christ face to face.  Imagine how that would make you feel.  It would make you want to worship.

And so the wise men, as we call them, set out to find the child, for that very purpose.  They longed to see Him and worship Him, bringing gifts with great significance.  Because He was a King, they brought Him gold, because He was the great Healer, they brought Him frankincense, and because He would die for the sins of mankind, they brought Him myrrh.  These were thoughtful gifts, they showed what the Magi thought of Jesus. They were not arbitrary.

So what will you bring before the King to lay down at His feet?  What will you offer Him in worship?

We’ve all got a mission

Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

When it comes to missions, every Christ-follower has been given one. The Great Commission given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 is for all of His people. Go and make disciples. This is the mission for every one of us.

We don’t all go about that mission in the same manner, however. We’ve each been given our own talents and abilities that best suit us to do certain tasks in the big plan. Some of us are better at certain things than others, but we’re all still called to make disciples.

An interesting bit mentioned by the Apostle Paul is that God gifted His people with some people in particular that He wants to lead and to train. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers are all set apart to equip the rest of the body for ministry. All are called, but some are chosen to build up the body through special assignments. What’s your job that fits into the mission of God?

His gifts are given according to His riches

Ephesians 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

What comes to your mind when you think of gifts from God? Is it health? Wealth? Something else entirely? Sometimes we really limit God by not realizing just how much He has to give. This isn’t about money or possessions, this is about riches beyond compare.

There are two very important things to remember about God: First, He is a Father who loves His children and wants to give to them. Second, He has ALL things to give. There is nothing that you could need that God does not possess. Everything is His to give.

What’s more, He doesn’t give from His riches (that would mean He would be depleting His stash). He gives according to His riches. He’ll never run out, He doesn’t give to each of His children in percentages, He isn’t stingy. He has all things to give and He freely gives.

But most of the Lord’s blessings are not material, but rather spiritual blessings.  His greatest blessing of all is himself. He has given, according to the riches of His glory, His own Spirit to dwell in those whom He calls His children. With that gift comes all the power that is included with having God dwelling inside you. Now, how thankful does this make you for the Father’s blessings?