Welcome to Tuesday’s Podcast
Our reading today is Ephesians 4: 11-16 but today we’ll focus on verse 16:
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.
Do you remember Blockbuster Video?
I still have our Blockbuster video card. Can’t part with it. I loved Blockbuster and I’m gutted it’s gone.
I can still remember walking around the store – looking at the Videos (in the old days) latterly DVDs. Such a Friday night treat.
While I like Netflix – I like its convenience – you don’t need to leave the house on a Friday night to fetch a DVD.
There’s a flip side to this though. From the convenience of my Amazon Fire stick or my computer or mobile phone I can watch what I like when I like. What’s the issue you say?
The issue is precisely that – I can watch – whatever I want. Those very clever sophisticated algorithms Netflix use – find programme’s that will attract me. They market me. They work out what I like. Send me emails – targeted so I watch more and have a great user experience. It’s the very essence of consumption and while I watch Netflix and use technology – and I do appreciate it – I’m more and more aware that we were not made by God to just consume stuff or consume entertainment. We are made in the image of our creator – we were made to create and contribute.
In today’s passage there’s one verse that really strikes me – the Apostle Paul’s view of a church community is of a body. A human body – the recognition that we need all the body parts working properly – to function well.
The truth is this – we need each other. You have gifts that I don’t have. Believe it or not, I have gifts that you don’t have. Paul’s vision is of a corporate people – celebrating each other’s unique contributions. The unique contributions look something like this: starting at the beginning of Ephesians 4: 11 Paul says this ‘he who gave some to be the apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers – to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up’.
Many read that verse this way: God has uniquely wired each of us to make a contribution to our church community and the world around us. I don’t have time today to go into an explanation of each of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher’ – or ‘5 fold’ as it’s called for short hand – if you’re part of STC I’d encourage you to go back to the beginning of the the Life Life Better section of Grow Project for more information and to dig a little deeper.
Our unique 5-fold contribution – reflects an aspect of Jesus’ character and ministry. As a community – as we embrace our 5-fold – together we function as Jesus did.
An STC Cluster is a perfect place for us to explore and put into practice the gifting that God has given us. It’s a place to look out for other people – to love & care for them; an opportunity to share your testimony with a friend’s person of peace; perhaps take time to pray for a prophetic word and share it on the WhatsApp group; to share an aspect of Bible and what that means for your community or share an idea for an event to reach out to others.
In the book of Genesis we’re told that humans are made in God’s image. There’s a corporate dimension to that too. As we embrace our 5-fold – in our communities – collectively we represent Jesus to the community.
I find this hugely encouraging. I’m not in alone. We need each other and to discover and celebrate our unique giftings.
Father, help us to discover how you’ve wired us! Amen.
BIBLE READING: Ephesians 4:11-16
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 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.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 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.