Big Idea: Some of the biggest gifts of the gospel are other people.
For Christmas this year, I got my wife a gift she does not like. She is very polite and she has been trying to learn to like it, but it was just the wrong thing for her. It is a popular product for crafts, but she has two toddlers, another one on the way, and little interest in learning a new, complex piece of equipment and its software. I got it because she is crafty, and one of the ladies who works with me here in the church office loves hers. My sophisticated husband logic of “girls like this,” and “wife is girl,” led to some disappointment. It was not the first time! We have probably all gotten bad gifts, which did not quite work for us. I remember one family member with webbed feet getting toe socks for Christmas.
Sometimes, we might feel like the gifts God has given us are bad fits. But we can be sure that He has not given insufficient thought to His blessings and that He knows us better than we know ourselves. His gifts are perfect, if sometimes uncomfortable. Ephesians 4 gives us some insight into the gifts that Jesus secured for us through His victory over death (Ephesians 4:7-11). These gifts are precious, but they may not be what we asked for. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists and the pastors and teachers.” The gifts that He gave us? One another.
The metaphor of the body is a powerful one. Each component is given to every other component: the lungs are given to the heart and the heart to the lungs. Our hands serve our brains and our brains serve our hands. God gave us to one another, for the whole body to be built up. These gifts are costly – we only receive them when we ourselves are given away. When we see ourselves as gifts to others, we will speak the truth in love, put away our bitterness, rage, and anger, replacing them with kindness and forgiveness. But Christ’s gift of Himself to us to make us His inheritance is the perfect template.
Discussion Idea: How does Christ giving “prophets” to the church differ from Christ giving “prophecy?” What happens when we see ourselves as gifts to others and others to us?
Prayer Focus: Ask God to transform the way you see other people and yourself in light of this chapter.