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We're told about a gift of grace (singular) and informed that it will help us to build up the church in LOVE. Do you see a pattern, here?

Whatever we have to use in God's service comes directly from God.

It's a lot like a former colleague experienced at Ziff-Davis Publishing. He was working for ZD in public relations when he was called into Bill Ziff, Jr.'s office. Ziff told him that he wanted to reorganize the company and get a leaner, meaner PR group. To do so, he offered to fund my colleague with the start-up costs of starting his own PR agency and hiring his own staff. Ziff promised to provide the major part of the fellow's billings, but he wanted everything out of house.

My colleague took the money and started his agency. Ziff was true to his word and, not only did the PR man have all of the ZD business he expected and more, but the rest of the agency had grown faster than expected. Within a couple of years, Ziff called the PR man back into his office. At this point, Ziff expressed concern that he wasn't getting enough of the agency's attention. When my colleague started to protest, Ziff stopped him and said that he knew the fellow had built up his agency and that Ziff wanted to compensate him for the business he was going to lose when Ziff acquired his agency completely and brought him back in-house. When Ziff cited a number for buying back the business, my colleague said, "I don't understand. You funded the entire business in the first place and have been the biggest client the whole time and now, you want to pay for it again?" The PR man shared this with me several years after it had happened and he still had a sense of amazement. How much more generous could someone be than to buy the necessities for a person's business and then, buy them back?

Yet, that is essentially what God did. Jesus' death paid the blood debt for our sin and His ascension paved the way for our participation in His triumph. Now, with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of grace, we are essentially being given the tools with no strings attached to find fulfillment together in the Church where we get the blessing. In fact, the word used twice in this passage for building up the body of Christ could really be translated with something that Yoon and Peggy (who repair homes and resell them) could relate to. God's Holy Spirit provides the tools, materials, and labor for us to be able to do "home construction" on the body of Christ, but then we get the privilege of living in the "home," the body of Christ where we have been privileged to do the work.

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