Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NIV)
Read: Ephesians 4:1-16
Consider: Read the following transalations of the same verse in Ephesians and ask yourself which you are more comfortable with:
‘… to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up …’
Ephesians 4:12 (NIV)
‘… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ …’
Ephesians 4:12 (ESV)
Both transaltions speak of equipping Christ’s people/saints (all believers) and building up the body of Christ (all believers). However, I would surmise that many people are more comfortable with the words ‘works of service’, rather than ‘ministry’. This is probably because we don’t always see that the work of ministry applies to every believer in a church.
This narrowing down of ministry and applying it to a select few in a church, results in a church that is lop-sided and ineffective. It can also lead to burn-out on the part of those who are in leadership, but who cannot easily find others to share the load.
In Ephesians 4 Paul teaches us that we are all in ministry together and that the whole body needs to work together to be effective. Paul talks about growing – growing into the mature body of Christ and growing and building up the body in love. This takes two things to happen. Firstly, we must be prepared to speak the truth to each other in love. Secondly, we must each be willing to play our part in the work.
Pray: Father, may we truly understand that you have called each of us to work for you. Forgive us when we think this only applies to our church leaders. Help us to exercise the gifts you have given us to build up the body of Christ (your church). Amen