Summary: This sermon explores why God gives us gifts and how we should perceive them in our lives
As a child I loved Christmas and I loved birthdays,
and not just my own birthday
because there were plenty of gifts around.
Gifts are an important part of life.
Birthdays and Christmas were times of us ripping off the paper to discover the gifts we had been given.
Then we’d play with them, use them and have fun with them.
And often not by ourselves but with others.
In fact many of the things we receive are often best used with others.
You get more enjoyment out of kicking a ball with someone else or playing dolls not by yourself.
But birthdays and Christmas are not the only time gifts are prevalent in our lives.
In fact our entire life is about receiving and using gifts from God.
Benefiting from God’s gifts.
Unfortunately as adults we often lose interest in receiving and giving gifts.
We come up with weird ideas that we are grown up and no longer need gifts.
And I wonder some times whether Jesus’ comment that we should have faith like children,
also applies to our attitude to his gifts.
Most children have far greater appreciation than many adults when it comes to faith,
and as disciples it is not just helpful but also important to really appreciate the gifts God has given us..
And today’s reading from Ephesians 4 verses 1 to 16
Highlights how we are to view and use our gifts.
It also highlights that we should see and treat gifts as important.
The first thing that is helpful to recognise is that
Even though we don’t all have the same gifts,
that all gifts come from God.
Now for those of us who have been living as Christians for many years this is not a new revelation.
However there are some religions and some people think not of one god
but multiple gods.
So if you want to have children they aim to please a fertility god,
But if they want a good crop it is another god.
It is easy for us to think that if there are different gifts, there are possibly different gods.
And through St Paul God reminds us that all gifts come from Him.
In verses 4 to 6 we hear
4 There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers
Every gifts and everything has its origin from God.
And our different gifts are all from the same God it doesn’t mean we need to be in conflict because of our different gifts.
Some people gain a purpose for their life by only looking at the gifts they have and develop a life around these gifts.
As a result they often mix with similar people.
At best they think the way they approach life is correct…and the way others approach life is weird.
But they often put themselves in opposition to people who are different from them.
And so as a result we tend to see our differences as a problem
as causing disunity.
But that is only because we focus on who we are with our gifts.
But the scriptures are constantly reminding us that our unity doesn’t come from what we do or from us mixing with people who are like us.
Our unity comes from God.
And that God has given us the gifts to complement each other.
And verse 2 and 3 of today’s reading gives us an insight of how to express Christian Unity is by using our gifts together as Ephesians 4:2-3 says
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
And this leads us to the next important point in relation to our gifts.
Secondly the reason God gives us gifts is for the the purpose of building up the Body of Christ so that each of us mature into Christ.
Reading from verse 12
12 They are to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 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.
Who we are, what our likes are, what we are good at, what our natural inclination is given to us primarily for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ.