Ephesians 4:11-12 - 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
If I were dying of liver disease and given the opportunity for a heart transplant, I would definitely decline (though the sentiment would be appreciated). Why? Because while a healthy heart is a good thing, members of our bodies have a diverse set of needs and functions, and put simply, a heart isn’t a liver. In these verses, Paul helps us see how diversity is also necessary in the body of Christ.
First he lists some of the gifts available (v.11), and then explains what the ultimate purpose of the diversity is (v.12). Paul doesn’t intend this to be exhaustive (nor are his other spiritual gift lists in 1 Cor. 12 & 14 and Rom. 12) but rather a list of the sorts of leaders needed in a healthy church - apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. This kind of diversity of gifts is working properly when it contributes to the ultimate purpose of preparing others (“saints” v.12) to participate in ministry.
In order for a diverse body to function, it is essential that everyone participate. For this to happen, leaders must be aware of who is a part of the body (along with what gifts they have) and saints must be aware of where needs and opportunities are available. After all, we have been graciously given gifts to share them (Eph. 4:7).
• Are you currently contributing to a church ministry? If not, why not?
• How can you pray for and encourage someone responsible for equipping the saints for ministry?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for the beautiful diversity in the body of Christ.