But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ gift.
If we fail to remain teachable, we will never grow in unity with other believers or with the Lord. Like the newborn baby longing for the affection of his parents, we too will mature more quickly in the presence of older and wiser believers. To study the Bible on our own is a command and a necessity in our maturing process. Nonetheless, we would be foolish to not place ourselves under the mentoring or the teaching of other Christians. Their presence in our lives is a gift of Christ that we all take for granted.
I have often read Ephesians 4:11-12 as if it were a shopping list. I run my fingers over the different gifts Christ has provided me with as if I could pick one for my own. Will I choose to be an apostle or a prophet? What about being an evangelist or a pastor? How foolish I am to read Scripture in such a manner. While each of these is a gift from Christ to me, they are not all gifts that I can personally possess. Does this take any significance away from the gift? If I do not possess it, can it even be considered a gift?
Reading this passage in context, I develop a clearer understanding of Paul’s message to the Ephesians. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:4). To each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Verse 12 explains that the purpose of these gifts is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” I am a member of Christ’s body and have been promised each one of these gifts; they are made available to me in the form of parents, pastors, teachers, friends and strangers. It is a mockery to God and Christ Jesus when I place so little significance on these individuals in my life.
When we go to church without a joy and eagerness to hear the pastor speak we are rejecting a gift of Christ in our lives. When we wave off godly and mature counseling or advice from a parent or friend dedicated to prayer and Scripture, we are refusing grace in the form of a gift from our Lord. To each of us there have been given mentors and godly example in our lives. How teachable do you find yourself in their presence? Are you eagerly searching out these individuals or do you reject their advice and instruction? I challenge you to look differently at the apostles who God used to write the Bible; they are a gift to you. No longer look at your pastor or your Sunday school teacher as endless boxes of chatter, but as gifts to you from Christ. When you travel with your church to hear renowned speakers and evangelists, take notes… they are a gift to you from Jesus!
His gifts are all around you; they’re everywhere you go. It is only in our ignorance that we miss them. The more that you begin to recognize these gifts and take advantage of them, the more you will grow in your own relationship with Jesus. It is only then that you will find the Lord has blessed you with a personal gift to be shared with those around you. Ask the Lord to reveal to you the different individuals He has placed in your life as a gift. Once He has done so, I challenge you to never take their presence for granted again.