We’ve heard it a lot (on repeat, it seems), this whole idea that God has given each of us a gift. And it’s true! The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus has given gifts to every individual in the Church. In Ephesians chapter 4, he actually describes the moment when He did it!
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
What you and I might miss in this reference (which is recorded in Psalm 68:18) is the imagery of what a King would do after winning a war. When one nation overtook another nation, the victorious King would receive all the spoils of war; all the gold and silver and riches, and as he returned to his homeland and was greeted by his citizens, rejoicing and celebrating the victory he had brought them, the King would take from the spoils and he would start distributing them among the people in the streets. These gifts were given on account of the King’s victory in battle.
In a similar yet much more profound way, Jesus is our victorious King! He fought and won the greatest battle in human history 2,000 years ago at the cross. Jesus took the keys of death and hell from Satan through His death and resurrection (Revelation 1:18, Colossians 2:15), paying the penalty for our sin and rebellion against Him! And as Jesus ascended from this earth to return to the right hand of the Father, Paul describes that in that moment, He distributed gifts to every individual in His church.
The question that often comes out of this is obvious: what gift did Jesus give me?
Some of you might have a sense of the gift that God has given you, while others may be frustrated and feel you don’t even have a clue. I believe it would do all of us well to make less of a distinction between us and our gift. Rather than viewing your gift as something that you have or an extension of yourself, I believe that it is much more accurate to see yourself as the very gift that God has for the Church. I recently heard it said like this (from Micah Fries, co-author of Leveling the Church)
And so rather than spending an exhaustive amount of time and energy and prayer trying to “discern your gift,” (which, by the way, the Bible does not encourage) I believe we ought to simply live our lives as if we are a gift to the church in the same way that our church is a gift to us.
If you continue reading through Ephesians 4 (specifically, verses 12-16) what you find is the fruit of what your gift (aka YOU) is supposed to bear in the church. Below are 8 questions, based on Paul’s instructions, to help us consider the fruit of how we are serving to be a part of the Church that Jesus is building. As you read them, I pray that the Spirit of God would help you see how you can function with more effectiveness in your giftings, callings, and God-ordained destiny.
(Each question could be phrase “Is your gift...” OR “Are you...”)
What a great concluding statement! “When each part is working properly.... the body grows....” Isn’t that exactly how our physical bodies work? Well, it’s the same in the Church. When we all bring what Christ has given us and we choose to give of ourselves, our gifts, our times, talents and resources... then the Church grows!
May you be reminded today that you have something to offer to the Kingdom of God. And you (yes, YOU) are a gift to His Church that He is building. Don’t hold back. Allow God to use you TODAY.
By Pastor Tim Klassen