Stewarding Your Gifts
Read Ephesians 4:8-13
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 heaven 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, 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…
Who has God placed in your life to equip you, build you up, and help you mature in your faith?
I don’t know about you but when I look back on my faith journey from the beginning until now, I realize just how many people God placed in my life for the purpose of equipping me and helping me grow up in the faith. I have benefitted from the ministries of my pastors, Sunday school teachers, college professors, Bible teachers, etc. The list of people who used their spiritual gifts to build up my faith goes on and on. I would probably not be a pastor today if it were not for those who worked to equip me for ministry.
At this point in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says that when Jesus ascended to heaven, He gave the believers gifts. Through the Holy Spirit, all believers have been given spiritual gifts from Jesus. But your spiritual gifts are not about you. They are for the purpose of serving others. They are intended to build up the body of Christ.
The good news is that we have not been left on our own to learn how to use our spiritual gifts. Paul states that Jesus specially gifted the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip us for ministry. It is the job of these gifted leaders to help members of the body prepare for service, steward their gifts wisely, and grow in their faith.
What is the goal of this growth? Paul says that we are to be growing and maturing, building up and unifying the church until we all attain “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Paul means that the church should become more and more like Christ. Each and everyone of us is to be growing spiritually until we reach full maturity. Perfection. Christ is the standard that we are all to measure up to.
But how? How can we be perfect? If you are in Christ, the process has been started. We are told to pursue holiness and grow up in the faith. We have been empowered by the Holy Spirit and given the gift of spiritual leaders to teach and equip us in this process. But this process will not be complete until Jesus returns. Until then, it is each member’s responsibility to use their God-given gifts to build up His church. How are you sharing your gifts with the body of believers? Are you sitting under godly and gifted Christian leaders who are helping you grow?
Jesus, I want to be perfect. I want to be holy and blameless as You are holy and blameless. But I am not there yet. Help me continue to grow. Help me become more like You. Equip me for Your service and use me to build up Your church. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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