7 But each one of us has received a gift of grace. These gifts are given to us by Christ. 8 That is why Scripture says, “When he went up to his place on high, he took many prisoners. He gave gifts to his people.” (Psalm 68:18) 9 What does “he went up” mean? It can only mean that he also came down to the lower, earthly places. 10 The one who came down is the same one who went up. He went up higher than all the heavens. He did it in order to fill all creation. 11 So Christ himself gave the gift of the apostles to the church. He gave the prophets and those who preach the good news. And he also gave the pastors and teachers as a gift to the church. 12 He gave all these people so that they might prepare God’s people to serve. Then the body of Christ will be built up. 13 That will continue until we all become one in the faith. We will also become one in the knowledge of God’s Son. Then we will be grown up in the faith. We will receive everything that Christ has for us. 14 We will no longer be babies in the faith. We won’t be like ships tossed around by the waves. We won’t be blown here and there by every new teaching. We won’t be blown around by cleverness and tricks. Certain people use them to hide their evil plans. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love. So we will grow up in every way to become the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. 16 He makes the whole body grow and build itself up in love. Under the control of Christ, each part of the body does its work. It supports the other parts. In that way, the body is joined and held together.
In verses 1-6 leading up to this section, Paul has reinforced the need for us (the church) to be one. Our identity is found in unity. But here in verses 7-16, Paul is reinforcing that the path to unity and maturity is actually found in diversity.
If my ministry looks different from the ministry of others… Well that makes sense! In fact each of us needs to be ministering in the way that God has made us and gifted us. It is only then that we grow and become strong against the deception of false teaching. I am thankful that I go to a church where ministry is expressed in so many unique and creative ways. It makes our church stronger and more mature.
Lord thank you for the variety of your gifts and the diversity of ‘shapes and sizes’ that your people come in. Lord thank you that our church exhibits the marks of a healthy, varied church!
Written by Andrew Mellor