“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it says, ‘When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.’ (In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 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.” – Ephesians 4:7-12
As a parent of three wonderful children, I like to think that I distribute my attention, love, support, and money fairly. However, each of my children is a very different person with different needs. There is simply no way to maintain fairness in our relationships. In fact, attempting to do so would be to the detriment of each child.
These days, fairness is often held up as the highest standard. However, is that really how we want the Father to treat us? Our initial response is likely to be, “Of course I want God to be fair in his dealings with me!” Yet, if we stop and consider what we truly deserve from a holy, holy, holy Lord, we might quickly reconsider. If God were fair with his people, none of us would receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of salvation. Thankfully, he is not fair in his judgement.
Nor, as Paul tells us, is the Lord fair in his distribution of spiritual gifts. Instead, he allocates them according to his good measure. Some people are called to be apostles or prophets, others are to serve as evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. As we saw in yesterday’s reading, all of us are to walk in a way that is worthy of our calling, whatever that might be. And all of us are called to live in unity, providing support and strength for one another. God distributes his gifts to different members of the body so that we will live in relationship with each other, depend on each other, and sharpen one another.
That was true in Paul’s day and is true today. We have all have been given spiritual gifts and we each have a unique call to serve the body of Christ and the world. There are still apostles who proclaim the word of the Lord. There are still prophets who faithfully speak his truth. There are modern evangelists who share the good news of Jesus Christ. Just imagine how many people came to the Lord through Billy Graham’s messages. There are shepherds, often referred to as pastors, who nurture and care for God’s people. They might do so by preaching from the pulpit, praying in a hospital room, or counseling those in need. Finally, some are called to teach God’s people. Whatever the format, the key is to teach the Scripture and truth about Jesus in a way that is understandable and relatable.
God gives his children spiritual gifts so they can bless one another. All work together to build and strengthen his body.
Reflect and Respond:
Are you strengthened in your faith by the spiritual gifts God has given your brothers and sisters in Christ? Are you faithfully using and enjoying the gifts he has entrusted to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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