I had an amazing opportunity last month to return to the Philippines for a missions trip. This time, one of the teams was a dental clinic and I was able to be part of this team for some of the days there. What I learned and experienced in those few days was nothing short of amazing. Then reading Ephesians 4 today, I was struck with how those dental clinics were a great analogy for what Paul is saying in this letter.
Two takeaways. One, each person there was serving a vital purpose (not just the dentists). There were people doing the intake interviews to determine the need and also take vitals. Then another team of people would share the gospel message, offer opportunities for them to receive Christ and help them get connected to local churches and small groups. Then the assistants would gather the proper tools (part of the second takeaway) and prepare to assist the dentist. Then the dentist would evaluate the most vital needs and either clean, repair or extract teeth. Translators where also there for those who did not speak good English. And then someone was a pharmacist to administer the prescribed medicine to the patient.
The second takeaway was the custom purpose for all these tools. When I first saw them all, I was overwhelmed. However over the next several days, I was able to witness how each tool had a unique purpose. Depending on the shape, size, position and condition of the tooth… a different tool would be the best tool for the job.
Both of these takeaways point to what Paul is saying in Ephesians 4:11-16.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds 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, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
No tool was more important or more vital than the rest. No person was more important or vital than the rest. And the coolest part was that many of us where cross-trained to perform multiple tasks depending upon the need of the moment. This is the point Paul is making. Some people are designed by God to “equip” others. This can sometimes mean preaching and teaching. It can also mean shepherding, counseling, assisting, etc. Some are designed by God to “work” in His ministry. And just like our dental clinic, most people are designed by God to do both of these at different points in time. Just because you are a pastor does not mean you only equip and just because you are not a pastor does not mean you only work. God will equip each of us to perform the part of the ministry He has planned for us at that point in time.
God does not make junk. He designed you for a purpose, multiple in fact. At different times and seasons in your life, He will equip you to perform different tasks for His kingdom. And when we all work together for His glory, the whole body is stronger.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button in the top right corner AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.