You know, you teach on stuff and read about stuff for so long that sometimes its hard to see what its actually about.
I found that this week with the whole topic of spiritual gifts. To be honest I found myself bored again… wondering what knob picked this subject?… Oh… it was me… We picked it because part of our priorities for 2012 is to get people finding their place in the family at QBC. So part of that is finding your gift, using it, etc etc… You probably know the drill.
This week I sat down to map out some kind of teaching for Sunday and found myself seeing things I hadn’t really noticed before. Perhaps its because the pragmatist in me is dying and I am less concerned for mere results. As I began to prepare an overview type message I began to skim the major passages (Eph 4, Romans 12, 1 Cor 12, 1 Pet 4) and couldn’t get past Ephesians 4.
The more I read it the more I feel this is the core DNA of the church. I’ll be quoting my old friend Andrew Dowsett who writes on it more articulately than I can here here. This is stuff I have known but this week it combusted.
Then – and perhaps more significantly – I began to reflect on the reason for spiritual gifts and realised that for so many years I have taught that they are to a) help the church work well b) bring you personal fulfillment as you become the person God created you to be. I don’t doubt these are true, but I don’t reckon they were top of God’s priority list when he was dreaming this stuff up.
Eph 4 says:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
If you are like me you may have read that a gazillion times and missed some of it. As I was reading this week the thing that impacted me was that God has given gifts to his church (APEST) not just to get the jobs done, but rather to help us reach unity and maturity and in that reflect the fullness of Christ. When we know who we are and when we live out of that we don’t just make ‘church work’, we become the reflection of Christ to one another and the world.
That seems a much more inspiring outcome than simply filling the rosters… you probably already knew that, but I enjoyed learning it this week.