Summary: 1) Every believer has been individually gifted (Eph. 4:7); 2) Christ obtained the right to give gifts(Eph. 4:8-10); and 3) the Lord blesses the whole church (Eph.4:11)
Gift giving is a year round problem. When we are invited to an event we wonder what we should bring. Usually the bigger the event, the bigger the gift. A dinner party requires a different gift from a wedding. Problems arise when we try to out give the other invited guests, try to bribe our way with a gift, into an event that we were not invited, or present a sense of resentment to the host in having to give something in return for the invite.
The essence of the gospel is not in what people should do for God but in what He has done for people. The New Testament, like the Old, contains many commands and requirements, many standards to be met and obligations to be fulfilled. But important as those things are, they are not the heart of Christianity. They are simply what God calls and enables us to do for His glory in response to what He has done for us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Every New Testament book teaches what Christ has done for believers, and every New Testament exhortation is built on that foundation of God’s gracious provision through the Savior. God gave the supreme gift of grace and His children are to respond in faithful obedience (see Eph. 2:10).
With such awesome gifts received from God it is easy for us to slip into religion, and try to pay God back. We mistakenly think that if we are just active enough, God will like us more and we'll earn a special place in His heart. Salvation an unmerited gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9). When we understand this we can live a life of grateful service and not guilt driven religion. Each member of the body receives from the Sovereign Lord his own integral value, place, responsibility, opportunity, and duty. No one should be idle for each one has a place to fill, which no one else can fill (Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2416). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).
Paul begins this passage by referring to what God has done for those who have trusted in His Son. The worthy Christian walk he has just described (Eph. 4:1–6) is carried out through the ministry of the gift He has given us. In verses 7–11 the apostle first assures us that 1) Every believer has been individually gifted (Ephesians 4:7); then he shows us how 2) Christ obtained the right to give gifts (Ephesians 4:8-10); and finally he mentions some of the specially gifted people through whom 3) the Lord blesses the whole church (Ephesians 4:11).
1) The Gifts of Christ to Individual Believers (Ephesians 4:7)
Ephesians 4:7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. (ESV)
The term but, with which this verse begins could be translated “in spite of that” or “on the other hand,” contrasting the previous subject matter in verses 3–6 of the unity of believers, with what is about to be said, of their individual diversity or distinctiveness. It sets the individual (each one) over against the “all” (v.6) in regard to unity in the Body of Christ. Unity is not uniformity and is perfectly consistent with diversity of gifts. God’s gracious relation to “all” is also a personal relation to each one (cf.1 Cor. 12:7, 11) and a personal ministry through each one. Thus Paul moves from the unity of believers to the uniqueness of believers. These differences are often an irritation to us. It seems as though the world and the church would be so much better if everyone were more alike. What’s wrong with wanting most persons to be the same … just like us? The apostle deals with this question before he ever begins to describe the differing gifts (Chapell, B. (2009). Ephesians. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (p. 187). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.).