Ephesians 4:11-13 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
My attention was focused on this passage back in the ‘70s and all the more so in the ‘80s as I learned more and more about spiritual gifts. Don and Katie Fortune helped me understand that the different pas-sages that talk about gifts use different Greek words for what they are talking about. For convenience they separated the discussion into Manifestation Gifts, (1 Corinthians 12) Motivational Gifts, (Romans 12) and Ministry Gifts, listed here. The bulk of their teaching was on Motivational Gifts, but they pointed out that whereas the first two types of gifts are given to people, Ministry Gifts are people given to the Church. That’s why it’s out of place for someone to claim they have “the gift of Apostle.” That’s a pretty good indication they aren’t designated by God as His representative, which is what “apostle” means! People are gifted as apostles, prophets, etc. to the Church. The whole point of the Ministry Gifts is that the Church very obviously needs the things that Paul says such people do for it. The problem is that the Church’s record of accepting such people to let them do their work is spotty at best. The flip side of that is that the average “person in the pew” completely overlooks Paul’s statement that those who are given to the Church are to “prepare God’s people for works of service,” not do all the work themselves. Also, those who are given as Ministry Gifts must never think that the “works of service” are for their personal benefit. Some people (whether they are given by God to the Church is open to debate) seem to feel that everyone is to serve them, and that brings disgrace on the name of Christ.
Since I am gifted as a Teacher (Motivational Gift) and given as a Teacher to the Church (Ministry Gift), this certainly applies to me. As a Pastor/Teacher my biggest problem has been that I tend to present truth without walking people through the process of applying it. That’s not really preparing God’s people for works of service! Often, if they’re really listening, it’s laying guilt trips on them, and that benefits no one. I am grateful to have been introduced to the idea of Coaching, because that is focused on helping people recognize and apply the truth themselves, rather than having it poured out on them from above, as it were. I’ve got plenty of room to grow there! The Motivational Gift of Encourager would seem to be very helpful in that, but God will supply what I need when I need it, if I am humbly open to Him.
Father, thank You for helping me understand that it’s never about me, but always about You and the Body of Christ. Help me indeed be and do what You desire and intend, fulfilling Your purposes for me to the blessing of others and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!