Ephesians 4:16

What is your part in Jesus’ body, the church? How do you fit in? Are you just someone who occasionally shows up in church, or is there something more that you are—or ought to be—doing?

“From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)

God has a plan, and within that plan, all of us have a job—a purpose. There are few spectator Christians, the only possible exception being those just recently born again who are still getting their bearings. But how can we know what our particular job is—what, exactly, we are supposed to be doing? What we are supposed to be doing depends on several criteria: the spiritual gifts we have, our education and training, and the opportunities God places before us.

God gives His people spiritual gifts. There are many excellent books which explain these in detail, but generally they include the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, speaking in tongues, extraordinary faith, healing, miracles, wisdom, knowledge, discernment, serving, giving, exhortation, administration, and mercy. If you are a growing Christian, you will inevitably find that you are endowed with one or more of these Holy Spirit-given gifts.

You may feel a call to speak God’s Word, to evangelize—to tell others you meet about Christ—or even to start up new churches where there is a need. You might find that God seems to bless your financial support of His work, or that you have a special ability managing. You may find that you are the perfect support person, always thinking of what the need is before others think of it, or be able to come alongside others and encourage them to persevere in their Christian walk. You may easily recognize erroneous doctrines, apply God’s doctrine in practical ways, or have a deep desire to keep learning more and more of God’s word. But regardless of the gifts we have, they are to be used for God’s glory, and for building up the church.

Yet the particular things we do within the body of Christ will also be determined not just by the spiritual gifting we have, but by our education and training. A Ph.D. in biology will find different opportunities to be used of God than a mechanic or a musician. Not everyone is able to become a pastor or teacher, but each of us can serve God in whatever secular position we have.

Finally, how we serve God will also depend upon the particular situations He places before us. Each of us is different—we work in different places, live in different neighborhoods, have different hobbies, and interact with different people. I am exposed to needs other people are not. Even within families, each person is typically friends with people the others might not be, through which God identifies things they should be busy doing.

In conclusion, the things that we do within God’s body—His church—will depend on a several factors. Our spiritual gifting plays a part, but so do our training and education, as well as the needs we run across as we go about our daily lives. As people of God, when we see an opportunity to do something, we must do it, whether it is something someone from our local church has asked us to do or not. It is good to remember that Christ’s body—what theologians call the church universal—is comprised of many people throughout time and space. While we certainly should be involved in our local church, some erroneously limit their work for God’s kingdom to what their particular congregation is involved in. God’s heart is that His people use the abilities, training, and opportunities He provides to help His whole church grow and be built up in love. So what does this mean for us?

What this means is that we should not limit ourselves. Find a need, within (or outside of) the church, and fill it. You aren’t “off the hook” in God’s eyes if you haven’t officially been asked to do something in your church. God is bigger than that. Jesus said, “…lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” (John 4:35b) There is a tremendous mission field out there, and it is literally outside our door. Take whatever He has given you and do something for His kingdom with it!

* * * * * * * * * *

“The kingdom is also like what happened when a man went away and put his three servants in charge of all he owned.The man knew what each servant could do. So he handed five thousand coins to the first servant, two thousand to the second, and one thousand to the third. Then he left the country.

As soon as the man had gone, the servant with the five thousand coins used them to earn five thousand more. The servant who had two thousand coins did the same with his money and earned two thousand more. 18 But the servant with one thousand coins dug a hole and hid his master’s money in the ground.

Some time later the master of those servants returned. He called them in and asked what they had done with his money. The servant who had been given five thousand coins brought them in with the five thousand that he had earned. He said, “Sir, you gave me five thousand coins, and I have earned five thousand more.”

“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

Next, the servant who had been given two thousand coins came in and said, “Sir, you gave me two thousand coins, and I have earned two thousand more.”

“Wonderful!” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share in my happiness!”

The servant who had been given one thousand coins then came in and said, “Sir, I know that you are hard to get along with. You harvest what you don’t plant and gather crops where you haven’t scattered seed. I was frightened and went out and hid your money in the ground. Here is every single coin!”

The master of the servant told him, “You are lazy and good-for-nothing! You know that I harvest what I don’t plant and gather crops where I haven’t scattered seed. You could have at least put my money in the bank, so that I could have earned interest on it.”

Then the master said, “Now your money will be taken away and given to the servant with ten thousand coins! Everyone who has something will be given more, and they will have more than enough. But everything will be taken from those who don’t have anything. You are a worthless servant, and you will be thrown out into the dark where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.” (Matthew 25:14-30)

Dear Lord,

Help us be faithful. Help us use the abilities, education, and opportunities you give for Your kingdom! Amen.

talents

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About essentialdailyscriptures

Do you want to grow in your knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but aren’t sure where to start? Essential Daily Scriptures is a ministry for people who want to study God’s Word, but don’t have a lot of time. Each day’s study covers one verse and takes approximately fifteen minutes, incorporating significant amounts of Scripture directly from the NKJV Bible, so you’re able to get right into God’s Word with a minimal time investment on a daily basis. May “the Father of glory…give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:17b)
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