Daily D – Ephesians 4:11
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. EPHESIANS 4:11 (NLT)
There are five kinds of people you will find in just about every organization. There is the guy who is always interested in starting something new or renewing something the organization already does.
There is the person who reminds everyone about the standards, those things which do not change. There is the person who always has something good to tell about their new favorite book, restaurant, movie, automobile, experience, . . .
There is the person who is always sensitive to the needs and feelings of others and makes sure everyone is okay so that they do not get left behind. There is the person who likes to explain what things mean in a way people can grasp and apply.
Think about the leaders you know. Which orientations do you see in them? Which of these do you most closely identify with in your own life? What would others say about you?
Our Father in heaven hardwired humanity with these kinds of orientations to life. Most people have a combination of these orientations with one generally showing up more strongly than the others.
These gifts operating in the church keep the church oriented toward outsiders. They keep the church focused on what is true, right, just, and fair. They tell the wonderful story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension. They make sure everyone gets what they need and get along with one another. They gently instruct to empower people to live in a manner that honors God and serves others.
Churches need people who express each of these gifts. Churches without an apostolic bent can turn inward and become social organizations without purpose. Churches without prophets fail to speak up for the truth in challenging times. Churches without evangelists dwindle and die. Churches without pastors or shepherds get on each others’ nerves. Churches without teachers get confused about what is true and why it matters.
When all of these gift orientations are functioning in a mature manner, the next few verses in Ephesians 4 become reality. The church is strengthened. Unity overflows. People measure up to the stature God planned for them. Immaturity evaporates. Foolishness disappears. People on mission together remind others of Jesus. Everything fits together, works as intended, and grows into a healthy, loving organism.
What’s your part to play? Play it well.
I will do my part to keep the church focused outward, tell the good news of Jesus, and teach with an eye toward life-building application.
Our Father, thank you for the gifts you give to your church to build it up and make it fruitful and effective. Empower each of us to fully exercise the gifts you have given to us to play our part in this building and expansion of your kingdom. Remind us as often as necessary how we need each other. Teach us how to serve in coordination to accomplish your purpose. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)