Monday, August 1, 2011

Giving of Ourselves

Our Churches today need more than just finances; we need people to give of themselves. For a church to survive the people must also give of themselves and practice their spiritual gifts. For any church to thrive, the people must play an active part. 2 Corinthians 8:5 explains that the Macedonian believers first gave of themselves to the Lord and His work and that is why they pleasantly surpassed Paul’s expectation at Corinth when they gave sacrificially to the Jerusalem church. Commenting on v.5, Murray Harris writes, “…the reason the Macedonians exceeded Paul’s expectations was that they did not restrict their contribution to financial aid. On the contrary, ‘in keeping with God’s will’ they dedicated themselves first and foremost to Christ but also to Paul for the performance of any service in connection with the collection (v.5).” As believers mature spiritually they realize that God has a purpose for them and wants to use them.

1 Peter 4:10 informs that every believer has received a spiritual gift and Peter commanded that the believer be a good steward and use his or her gift for the benefit of others. Paul teaches the same thing in Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:1-16. The passages are clear that God has equipped His children to serve in the local church. In his commentary on Ephesians 4:7, Harold Hoehner teaches that, “Each believer is to function in Christ’s body by God’s enablement, proportionate to the gift (spiritual ability) bestowed on him, no more and no less. This means that a variety of gifts will be exercised, as seen in verse 11; Romans 12:4-6; and 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.”

It is imperative that pastors teach believers their responsibility to serve in the local church. No church will function well in God’s eyes when the members of that church fail to see the need to serve as God has equipped them. Ephesians 4:12 clearly teaches that each believer serves, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Every believer needs to understand that he or she is needed in the work because God has ordained it that way. Paul says it best in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Comparing the congregation to the human body, Kent writes, “Now, the proper functioning of all interrelated parts is necessary for normal growth in a human body. Any overactivity of one part may result in a misshapen, monstrous organism. In the same way each member of Christ’s body…is to exercise his ministry (4:11) and thus contribute to the upbuilding of the whole church. If even one Christian fails todevelop spiritually, the church as a whole is not as strong as it ought to be.”

We need to understand the importance of every believer learning to give of themselves and not just their tithes and offerings. How about you my friend? If you are reading this blog post, have you given of yourself to God? Are you exercising your gifts and abilities in a local church?

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