Lord of all, I thank You that You have called me to join with others in Your body, the church.
Read Ephesians 4:1-16
 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.  This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”  (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)  So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat admonitions for living are given here and why?
However much we may think harmony in the church is good, it will not come unless we acknowledge that it is hard work–both to achieve it and to keep it (2,3). Christian fellowship may be wonderful when all is going well, but it is always frustrating to work with people who don’t see things as we do! Paul points out that differences should not only be expected, but are healthy. There is unity of belief (4-6), but diversity of gifting. Each of us is given gifts of grace (7). If everyone were the same, many jobs would not get done! We need each other, and the very things that we find frustrating in others may be the reasons why they are so good at the tasks we hate! Each of us must recognize that God’s calling is not for us to be like others, but to be the person he wants us to be, playing our part in the life of the church (16). Only when we accept this unity in diversity, Paul tells us, do we really grow up as a church (15). By working together we can be fruitful for God, each person playing their unique part.
What part are you playing in the body of Christ? How are you encouraging others to play their unique part?
Lord Jesus, I thank You for all the many different gifts in my church. Help me to use mine and encourage those of others.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.