5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.
7However, he has given each one of us a special gifta through the generosity of Christ. 8That is why the Scriptures say,
“When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.”b
9Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world.c 10And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself.
11Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
As I sit here working on this weekend’s service, I am surrounded by people who are invested and investing in the church and the surrounding community. The physical work that they are completing in this heat is amazing and I know that the recipients are very grateful.
Moreover, over the past couple of weeks (and months) we have experienced a coupled of, shall we say, intense situations for which spiritual and emotional ministry was very much needed – and I didn’t do it. Not to mention that I took a Sunday off and the church didn’t miss a beat.
All of this makes me very happy. Very satisfied. Do you know why?
Because the church is US – not ME.
This is the beauty of the local church, and it is what I truly believe with all my heart – God has brought us together to serve Him and complete His will here on earth. He has brought together every person and combined their giftings and their personalities for the glory of God.
Many call it, “The Ministry of the Saints” and it is the way it is supposed to work. A couple of weeks ago I preached about being a part of something that is way bigger than yourself. The body of Christ and her purposes are bigger than any one of us; bigger than any committee; bigger than any region, conference, or denomination – and we are beginning to live it.
As my mentor, my uncle said it very simply, “Brian, if you show up and they don’t, there is no church; If they show up and you don’t, there should still be church.” That made sense then and it has indeed taken some time to get to this point, but here we are. We are all parts of this body and THE body and we are all called to live in the Spirit of God, exercising the gifts that He has given to us, doing what HE wills us to do.
When I talk about leadership in the church, many will say to me something like, “I can’t do that pastor, or I have never tried anything like that, or trust me pastor, you don’t want me doing that.” Well, the fact is that 90% of the time, these statements are TRUE!
Think about it, how many times in scripture did God call a person who was fully equipped, prepared, and willing to complete His will… I’ll wait….
“14The LORDd turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?”
15“Please, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I save Israel? Indeed, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
16“Surely I will be with you,” the LORD replied, “and you will strike down all the Midianites as one man.” (Judges 6:14-16 (BSB))
Most of us are hiding ourselves and our gifts in a winepress and feel overwhelmed when we are called to the fight – I get that – believe me, I get that. But let me be blunt – that is because we have little faith in the power of God and thus, little trust.
Stepping out is terrifying, it should be. That is how we know that it is the Lord who is calling. If what we are being called to do is possible in our own strength, why would we even need the power of God’s Holy Spirit?
The question for you is not ARE you called – it is HOW are you called. YOU are a part of the Body of Christ, the Ministry of the Saints, step out, following your calling, and live!
I had this explained to me this way once, if God wills it, He will knock you off your donkey and say, “you’re workin’ for ME now!”