11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.
“God’s goal,” Ephesians said, “is for us to become mature adults… fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.” At times we find that unity with Christ and one another is still hard. But God calls us to become spiritually mature so that nothing can knock us off course. Building this kind of community requires us to speak the truth in love, with our understanding of truth grounded in thoughtful Bible study guided by the Holy Spirit so that we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ. All our different gifts need to work together so that we can strengthen and equip one another.
Read. One of the most powerful things that we can do is to share our faith with another generation. If you have children, read a passage of Scripture to them today and talk about what it means to them – if they are young children, you can read from a children’s Bible. If you don’t have children, read from a children’s Bible and talk with someone about how you might talk to a child about their faith.
How does reading from a children’s Bible change your perspective?
Lord Jesus, you are building me—you are building us—into a community of spiritually mature people, growing in every way into your life of love. Help me to do my part as a faithful builder growing more and more into your image. Amen.
We experience God through Jesus as the Living Word and through the Bible as the written Word. Create a box filled with Bible verses. Obtain a shoebox or photo box. Using colored paper, markers, ribbon, magazine cut-outs, family photos and other fun materials, decorate the box to represent your family and your faith journey. Write some favorite Bible verses on colorful strips of paper and place them in the box. (The book of Psalms is a great place to find many verses of praise and thanksgiving as well as promises from God.) Once a day, possibly at mealtime, pull a strip from the box and share the passage aloud. Ask older children and youth to also find it in the Bible. Thank God for the gifts of Jesus and Scripture.
I like to think of myself as a “jack of all trades, master of none.” While I might approach mastery in a few areas, I am not an excellent apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. We are not required to be all things at all times. Yet Paul assures us that God equips each of us for service in God’s kingdom!
Paul’s writing about the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) further assures me that I am not required to do all and be all. As much as I’d like to be a profoundly excellent eye, ear, foot and arm all at the same time, I realize that God has crafted me to serve as a pastor. I am extraordinarily humbled by this calling. As a friend of mine stated, “A pastor may have a baptismal service, a wedding and a funeral service on the same day, certainly in the same week. Let one ponder the infinite significance of each one of these, and who touches life at its very center more intimately, more constantly than a pastor?” I’m beyond thankful that this is how God has called me to serve.
Some church folks have an inflated view of pastors. A few even think we have supernatural powers and are closer to God than the average lay person. Allow me to let you in on a secret: Pastors are human beings. God has equipped us for a particular area of service. Ready for another secret? God has equipped YOU, too. You have been equipped to serve God in a way that I cannot. You have abilities and gifts that are unique and qualify you to build up the body of Christ. You are the apostle. I am the pastor. Your neighbor is the teacher. It is only when we identify the uniqueness of our calling that the body is made whole.
How has God made you exceptional? Are you a teacher, evangelist, arm, hand or ear? I can’t answer that for you, but if you’re having a hard time answering this question, ask those closest to you. They’ll be able to help. In the meantime, I’m going to live into the ways God has equipped me to be a pastor in order to build up the body of Christ.
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