God’s Measured Gifts
When it comes to the gifts we receive from God, why is it, we always want more than we receive? We are never satisfied with what we have received. We look around and take notice of the gifts others have received and wonder why we don’t have what they have. This can be a source of depression and anxiety in our lives, that quite frankly we don’t need. We need to learn to be satisfied with what God has given to us.
BRETHREN, grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (in saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4.7-13
In today’s reading from Ephesians, Saint Paul is helping us to overcome the depression and anxiety we experience when we compare our gifts with the gifts others receive from God. “Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” It is God’s measurement that counts when it comes to gifts, not our measurement.
Not everyone is an apostle. Not all are prophets. Only some are evangelists, pastors and teachers. Each gifts was given for a purpose, and the purpose is not our own. If we are any of these, or have received any other gift from God, it is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” It is our duty to build “up the body of Christ,” using the gifts He has given us. If we all were the same, we would be useless to others.
Consider the gifts that God has given to you, and ask how you can use that gift to build up the body of the Christ. Do you have administrative talents? Serve a committee in your parish. Do you have musical talents? Serve in the music ministry of your parish. Are you a teacher? Offer to teach not just Sunday School, but adult education which is much lacking in most parishes in America. It doesn’t matter what the gift is, it can and should be used to build up the body of Christ, not our own ego.
As part of your New Year commitment to being a better Orthodox Christian member of the Church, meet with your spiritual father and ask how and where you can use your gifts to build up the Church. You may be surprised where you can be a blessing to others. Then, together we can “attain to the unity of the faith.”