Battle Blog | Ephesians 4:7 - I'm Gifted
by Nick Crawford, Executive Pastor
It's spring-cleaning time at our house. I don't know why, but Kristen and I always tend to de-clutter around this time of year. Maybe it's the weather that pushes us indoors, or the fact that there is little else to do, or that my (mild) case of claustrophobia just gets the best of me. Whatever it is, the stars always seem to align for a furious few weekends of spring-cleaning this time of year. As Kristen and I have cleaned out the house over the years, we've unearthed several wedding gifts that we've barely even used. Like the fine china. And the "his & hers" cups. And the decorative plate with a bird on it. And - my favorite - the bread maker (nothing says "wedding gift" like a shiny new bread maker, right?!).
Maybe that's a little harsh. Truly, I am grateful that so many people cared enough for us to shower us with gifts. But all these unused gifts got me thinking. What is the purpose of a gift, if it's not to be used for something?
The Apostle Paul addresses this very issue in Ephesians 4. He says, "But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Ephesians 4:7). From this, we're given greater understanding of God's nature, our need for one another, and God's purpose for giving each one of us a gift.
God is a Giver. It's in His very nature to give. The gospel is the good news of God's grace to sinful people. The nature of grace is giving. God's nature is giving. The heart of the gospel doesn't lie in what we should do for God, but rather what God has done for us. He gave. He gave Himself through the gracious provision of His very own Son, the Savior, Jesus. Grace is God's gift of Himself through Jesus. Perhaps the most well-known verse in the Bible says this very thing: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). God freely gave us life when the only thing He owed us was death. That's good news!
2. We need each other.
We are gifted. And we're gifted uniquely. In v. 1-6, Paul talks about the unity of the Church. Here in v. 7, he talks about the diversity of the Church. How can the Church be both - unified and diverse - at the same time? Unity does not mean uniformity. It doesn't mean sameness. So, we can be both unified and unique. And praise the Lord for that! If the Church was made up of a lot of me's, we'd be in trouble for sure. We'd be an army of high-achieving, perfectionistic, reformers, and ... we'd be exhausted! Thank God for diversity in the Body of Christ. Thank God for the unique gifts on display in each of God's people. We all have particular strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. We need the unique gifts of each member in the Church, and we also need each other to cover our individual weaknesses.
3. God's purpose for our gifts.
We are gifted with grace. And we're meant to do something with it. Paul is talking about "ministry grace" here, not "saving grace." This is the grace we're given to serve and build up the Church. God gives grace to every believer to do ministry. God is the giver, and no gift should go unused. This is why no Christian is to be a spectator. Every one of us is on God's team, and there is no bench on His team. We are all a part of God's plan to save the world. We all have a role to play and a position on God's team. So, what do you have to give? How can you use your gifts to build up God's people? How can you be generous with the gifts and the resources that the Giver has given you?
Here's an action step for you. Get to know yourself better. Personality tests are great for this! In addition to a spiritual gifts survey, I recommend a few personality tests for different things. Take one or take all three. The more you know yourself, the better you'll be able to relate with your spouse, kids, co-workers, group members, and neighbors. Each of one of these tests could help you better understand yourself and the other people around you:
For the Head. Try out the StrengthsFinder for a better understanding of how you think in light of your skills.
For the Heart. Take the Enneagram to get a glimpse into how you feel and how you react to stress, approach problems, and make decisions.
For the Hands. Give the Kolbe a shot for a picture of how you start work and actually get things done.
Get to know yourself better than you do today. It'll open your eyes to the beauty of the wholeness of the Church, and it'll help you do your unique part to build up the Church. The more you learn about yourself, the more focus you'll gain for the one or two things you need to do. We can't be everything, but by God's grace each one of us is something. So, maybe it's time for us to stop trying to do everything, and instead do the few things that we can do well. Maybe it's for some spring-cleaning.