Summary: There are some in the body of Christ who see those with public roles (ministries) in the body of Christ as being more valuable to the kingdom than those who don’t. But this is simply not true when you see “the big picture.”
Over the years, I’ve known Christians who, because they didn’t have public ministries, believed that they were, somehow, second tier to those who did. They were not preaching. They were not teaching Sunday school. They didn’t lead the choir. They served on committees. They were not unhappy. They just felt that what they were doing was less important than those who had more visible roles.
And it seems that some Christians believe that God sees them this way. And that saddens me. They don’t seem to know or understand that God has given all of us the same assignment to fulfill. It’s the same assignment that He gave to Jesus – to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
I do understand that when a person is called to the fivefold ministry – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher – it can seem like that person has a more important role in the body of Christ. But that is simply not true. The role of these ministries is laid out in Ephesians 4.
(12) For (the purpose being) the perfecting (maturing) of the saints (through sound doctrinal teaching), for (so that they will be able to carry out) the work of the ministry, for (with the purpose being) the edifying (building up and increasing) of the body of Christ:
(13) Till (with the goal being) we all come in the unity (being one and the same) of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect (complete) man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (until we measure up to Christ, who is our standard):
(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But (And how is this accomplished?) speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:12-15)
What we see in these verses are ministry callings that have one purpose: to help the body of Christ fulfill its assignment to seek and save that which was lost. And they are to do this by teaching sound doctrine to help us grow and mature spiritually so that when we stand before the mirror, we see Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18). That’s the role of the fivefold ministry in fulfilling this assignment. And every single person in the body of Christ has the same assignment.
Understanding this starts with knowing that God has equipped us to fulfill this assignment.
Turn to Romans 12:3.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think: but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
I want to focus on the last part of the verse – “according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
I remember the first time I engaged a tailor to buy a suit. He asked me to stand upright and stretch my arms out sideways. Then he asked me to hold the tip of the measuring tape with the thumb and index finger of my right hand. He stretched the tape across my back until he got to the index finger of my left hand. Next, he measured my chest and waist and then my hips. He finished by getting on his knees and measuring my legs from my hips to my ankles, first on the outside and then on the inside.
The tailor measured me for a suit that would only fit me and no one else. This is what the word measure communicates in the Greek. Think of it this way: the moment we become part of His family, God personally measures us – outfits us – with all the faith we will need in order to fulfill our callings and assignments.
This reminds me of what took place in Genesis 1. When God was putting creation together, the Bible records repeatedly “And God said.” He simply spoke and things happened. But all of that changed with Adam and Eve. Turn to Genesis 1. We’re going to read verse 26.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Now turn to Genesis 2. We’re going to begin with verse 21.
(21) And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;