Today we begin the book of Ephesians. It was written as a letter to the church at Ephesus in order to strengthen the body of believers there. At the end of the first chapter, Paul emphasizes this in Ephesians 1:22-23 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness if him who fills everything. The fullness comes from Christ’s ability to fill the church with His gifts and blessings that can only come from Him. When we trust in Christ we have the ability to receive gifts that cannot come from anywhere else.
God created each of us for a purpose and we have all been given gifts for that purpose. In Romans 12:6-8 Paul encourages us to fully use the gifts we have been given: 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership. let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. What is important is that God did not give us gifts to be used individually. We are individuals with specific gifts created for the purpose of forming a complete body. We are all members of the Kingdom of God created to glorify Him and bring others closer to a relationship with Him.
As believers we recognize God has given each of us unique gifts to be used for His glory. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Paul says, 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. While each of us may have different gifts, God is the same. The Holy Spirit works with each of our unique gifts to work together for God’s ultimate glory.
God has given each of us our own gifts, yet many of us envy other people’s gifts over our own. Proverbs 25:14 says, Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not have. Boasting about fruits which are not our own is pointless. While there are some gifts which are more visible than others, there are no unimportant gifts, and they are not made possible without the existence of all gifts. Do not waste your time working on gifts which are not your own. Embrace the gifts God has given you and work to fully utilize it for His service.
It is easy to get caught up in comparing our blessings with how others are blessed.. It is also easy to compare what we give compared to others. God is not in the comparison game. He is not interested in comparing our gifts to anyone else’s gifts around us. 2 Corinthians 8:12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. God expects us to be obedient to Him and not to be obedient according to someone else’s status. Ultimately, God gives to us so that we can give to others and we are to bless others in equal proportion to how much God has blessed us.
We are nothing without God. There is no question that God is the reason behind all that we are. We can claim no glory over for what we do. In verse 7 this point is made clear, So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. We must be faithful to accept and follow His leading in our lives, but He is the reason for the growth. Verse 8 goes on to talk about purpose, The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. We must remember that God created us uniquely. We must use the gifts He has given us and leverage it against the gifts He has given to others. As much as I would love to sing like and angel, I will never sound like Sarah Munsell… that would just be weird!