Ephesians 4:7-10 - 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)
I remember one Christmas visiting a friend’s house for the opening of presents. They went around in a circle as each family member took a turn. When it came time for my friend to open one from their grandmother, there was a lot of anticipation. As sweet as she was, Grandma was also a little strange and had been known to give some less-than-desirable…um...things. This year was no different: the gift was a hand-painted, pastel figurine of Jesus. While the subject was nice, the execution was awful enough to send my friend to their room crying. They received the oddity of the gift as a sort of statement about themself, when in actuality, it was Grandma who was the odd-ball.
Sometimes gifts can say something about the recipient, but oftentimes, they are a statement about the giver. As Paul continues to paint the picture of Christ’s body that he began in earlier verses of chapter 4, he transitions now to speaking of how Christ has gifted us (v.7). There are times when Paul writes stream-of-consciousness and it can be tough to follow. What does ascending and descending (as he quotes from Psalm 68:18 in v.8) have to do with gifts? He is showing us something about the gift-giver.
The exalted, eternal son of God, came as Jesus Christ to the lowest place he could travel: into humanity, and down to earth (v.9). After defeating death, our generous gift-giver has also ascended to the highest seat of power and authority: above the heavens (v.10). This shows us that the one who gives us gifts is humble (v.9), but also all-powerful (v.10). Spiritual gifts do not primarily reveal how wonderful we are, but how wonderful and gracious he is to give them (v.7).
• What abilities and spiritual gifts has God given to you?
• Who is someone you can help to identify their gifts and celebrate the Giver?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for being so great in power and yet great in generosity towards his people.