(Part 138)


September 21, 2015

Today’s reading:  Ephesians 4:1-13

God called us to covenant community in order to do His work. As a community and for the sake of the work, all of us are given gifts by which we are to serve. “But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (v.7). These gifts and the services we do are very diverse, covering the full range of what a community needs in order to accomplish the work. As such, God “gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (v.11-13).

We see that the gifts are given in order to build up the body, the community, for the work of ministry. Now what good would it be if those who are gifted acted in ways that, rather than building up the body, resulted in strife and disunity? Then such leaders would be acting against God’s interests. Then there would be failure to equip the holy ones. Then God’s intent for those in community will not be attained, as we will not “all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.” (v.12-13).

Servant leaders are supposed to work at unity in community, to form God’s people in deeper faith, to have spiritual maturity, to be other Christs. Such is God’s noble intent. To act counter to that is a work of the enemy.

Thus unity and peace are very important and crucial values for community. Thus Paul reminds us of who we truly are: “one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (v.4-6). Can the value of unity be expressed in a clearer way? We all are one. We all must be one.

How can it happen? It depends on us. We are “to live in a manner worthy of the call (we) have received” (v.1). How do we do so? We are to live “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace” (v.2-3).

  • Humility. Rather than falling into pride because of our gifts or leadership, we are humbled, knowing that we serve only through God’s grace. On our own we are nothing and can do nothing. We are totally dependent upon God.
  • Gentleness. We are gentle as nursing mothers deeply concerned for the good of the child.
  • Patience. We are to be patient with the shortcomings of others. We make allowances for the immaturity of those we care for. We reach out.
  • Bearing with one another. As brethren and co-workers, we are to practice tolerance and forgiveness in our dealings with one another.
  • Love. Over everything we put on love. Such love is unilateral, unconditional and self-sacrificial.
  • Striving to preserve unity through the bond of peace. We are peacemakers. We strive to get everyone on board.

Are we worthy of the call we have received?

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