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December 5, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“His ‘gifts to men’ were varied. Some he made his messengers, some prophets, some preachers of the Gospel; to some he gave the power to guide and teach his people. His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up until the time comes when, in the unity of the common faith and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real maturity—that measure of development which is meant by the ‘fullness of Christ.’”— Ephesians 4:11–13 (PHILLIPS)
On a team, different positions and players have different roles. For example, on a football team, the offensive lineman’s role is to protect the quarterback, whose job is to find the open receiver, and block for the running back, whose job is to gain positive yardage.
Each player is meant to use their unique skills and talents and fulfill the role their position calls for, but the collective goals—regardless of player or position—are the same: the short-term goal is to win the game, the long-term goal is to make the playoffs, and the overall goal is to win the championship.
The body of Christ, the family of believers, is like a team. As the apostle Paul points out here, the Lord’s “'gifts to men’ were varied.” Different members of the body have different gifts and talents and are called to fulfill different roles in the Church. I, for instance, have always had a unique ability to interpret and convey the truths of Scripture, whereas others are dynamic evangelists or compassionate and insightful counselors. But regardless of our role, the goals remain the same: “that Christians might be properly equipped for their service, that the whole body might be built up until the time comes when . . . we arrive at real maturity—that measure of development which is meant by the ‘fullness of Christ.’”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is discipleship in a nutshell! As believers, we’ve been given the great commission . . . to make disciples of all nations. But what is a disciple? One who is mature in the Lord, one who is a complete and competent follower of Christ, or as the NLT puts it, one who is “measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” This is our goal as believers. So regardless of the position you play or your unique gifts and talents, make no mistake . . . YOU are expected to be a disciple-maker. You’re expected to “equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church,” to help people experience that maturity.
God doesn’t want any of His children to remain “young Christians.” God wants all believers to grow up in Him, reach maturity, to blossom and experience the fullness of Christ. He wants us all to be equipped by those who are further along this journey than us, and then in turn to equip those who are behind us. So today, my fellow teammates/brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you to embrace your role and join me in working towards this goal we’ve been given!
DIG: Why do different people have different gifts and talents? Why are different people called to unique roles? What is the benefit of this?
DISCOVER: What has your discipleship experience been? Have you had someone pouring into you, helping equip you for the work of ministry? If not, have you sought someone out and asked him or her to disciple and mentor you?
DO: Get on the discipleship journey! If you have never been discipled, seek out someone to mentor and guide you; to equip you to fulfill God’s calling on your life. If you are a little further along on your discipleship journey, and aren’t already discipling someone, pray about who the Lord wants you to pour into and equip.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.