Duration: 365 days
BETTER THAN A BUICK
Today’s Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:1–16
Some men are mechanically-minded, while others—to put it bluntly—are not. Some began changing air filters when they were six years old, but others wouldn’t even know that a car had an air filter. Yet something understood by all men is that in order for a car to run properly all of the parts need to work together.
The apostle Paul makes a similar point. After describing the grace of God that is at work within the church, Paul exhorts believers to live together in unity. He repeats the word one seven times in verses 4–6 to stress this point. A car engine will break down if its many parts are not functioning as a single unit. The church is no different.
In verse 7 Paul makes another point. He asserts that each member of the church has received a portion of grace to perform a specific task. The leaders of the church are Christ’s gift to the saints, given to equip them for works of service (verse 12). Just as a car would not run if the engine were made of nothing but air filters, so too the church requires each member to exercise his or her unique gifts.
The metaphor of the church as a car only goes so far, however. A car is a machine; the church is a living organism. The metaphor Paul consistently employs in the Bible for the church is that of a body, with Christ as its head (see Ephesians 4:15; 5:23; Colossians 1:18). A body can grow and mature, but a machine never can. The body of Christ builds itself up in love (verse 16) and continually strives toward maturity (verse 13).
So as you live and serve with other people in the community of faith, remember that Christians are not replaceable mechanical parts. All Christians are members of the same body, and all need to be nourished. As each part does its own work in unity with the rest of the body, the church will do something a Ford or Chevy can never do: It will grow.
To Take Away
- What gifts has God given you?
- In what ways are you using your gifts to contribute to the growth of the body of Christ?
- What further steps can you take to contribute to the growth of the body of Christ? What keeps you from committing yourself fully?
Copyright © 2006 by Zondervan.