In Ephesians 4:1, Paul “begs us to lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called”.
We speak of a “calling” when someone declares they are attending seminary to be “trained” for ministry. But Paul has a different idea in mind; a “calling” to ministry is for all baptized Christians that have been touched by the Holy Spirit.
We’ve all been given spiritual gifts and those gifts are intended to be used. In Ephesians, Paul talks about the gifts given to “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the “saints” for the work of ministry.” Here, “saints” are not those we see depicted on stained glass windows, but instead the “saints” are all of us who have received God’s gifts through His grace. God’s grace is what changes us on the inside; the Holy Spirit then empowers us to use these gifts to make a difference on the outside.
As children we all respond to our parent’s voices, either telling us how much we are loved, or that we will never amount to much. But Paul tells us, “we must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14).” As adults we must let the Bible speak to our inner voice, encouraging and showing us how to live out the gifts that we have been given.
For over 40 years, I’d identified myself as a Christian when asked, but I never thought that I had any gifts that would be helpful to others in their faith. Everything changed on Pentecost Sunday in 2008 when I finally understood and was empowered to use my gifts of healing, evangelism, giving, exhortation and wisdom. I attend a wonderful church that is intentional about giving everyone the opportunity to use their unique spiritual gifts in serving the Lord.
To paraphrase Paul, “You’ve been given incredible spiritual gifts through your baptism and the Holy Spirit has empowered you to use them. You don’t need to be “professionally trained” at seminary in order to minister to others. Use your unique spiritual gifts in your community until everyone has come to unity in faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.”
In short, it is time to “Go Be Christians!”
Blessings, my friend,