TODAY’S READING: Ephesians 4:13-16
“He 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.” EPH 4:16 (NLT)
Do you remember what it’s like to have a tiny splinter or skelf in your hand? It’s tiny, small and seemingly insignificant but your entire body knows all about it. God has wired our bodies so that every single part is interconnected and necessary.
Paul writes that when every single part is working properly, the body is healthy, growing and full of love. The blessing of the fivefold gifts of apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists is that they are God’s gifts to us to ensure the body of Christ is indeed functioning and connected as Jesus intended. They are gifted to bring the body into a godly unity with an equally beautiful diversity. The world would be a boring place if everyone was the same.
We all love music and it’s great to listen to a choir singing the same song together in unison, however, when you start adding the harmonies, a special dimension is introduced. That’s also what happens in an orchestra. Every instrument being played brings a unique aspect to the unified tune. What would a soccer or basketball match be like if everyone was on defence or a goalkeeper? It would be boring! We need all sorts of skills and abilities to play the game.
Why is unity with diversity so important?
Firstly, the church is a reflection of the image of God and when we live as one, loving and submitting to one another yet still diverse, we give a glimpse of the godhead - the Trinity - to our world.
Secondly, unity commands a blessing. In Psalm 133, the Scriptures declare a commanded blessing where “brothers dwell together in unity”. I’ve been in local church leadership for 25 years through highs and lows and the truth is, I’ve known times when the blessing of God has rested upon the church and other occasions when it’s been hard-going and fruit has been few and far between. I’ve discovered that it’s God’s desire always to bless, however, we get to choose the degree to which we experience that blessing. That’s why I’m so thankful that we are partnering with the fivefold gifts because in doing so, we come into an authentic Biblical unity and in turn we come under the increasing blessing of God.
Can we ‘do church’ without partnering with these gifts?
Of course we can but when we build according to the ways of God, we position ourselves for increased blessing and favour because we then become healthy churches, the way Jesus intended.
Let’s position ourselves personally, and as local churches, for the blessing of God just as Paul commended the European Christians for doing. “They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.” 2 Corinthians 8:5 NLT
• Read Ephesians 4:13-16
• Let’s live in such a way that ensures we fully enter into the blessing of God.
• Pray that you will give yourself to your apostolic teams to the very same extent that you have given yourself to Jesus in order for increasing blessing to be released over you and the church.