October 2

Psalms 24:1 (NIV) 1The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

We sometimes think of possessions as being ours. We are stewards over things but for a short time. Everything is from God and will return to God. I am speaking not just of physical things but also power and authority. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 (NIV) 11Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. 12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Whatever you have, whatever authority or influence you attain to, it is all from God, and it will all return to God. He is all-powerful and so all power is from Him and returns to Him. We need to get a grip on this reality so that we don't get wrapped up in the idea of possessing things. Your house is not yours. Your clothes are not yours. Your children are not yours. It all belongs to God. How should that affect our attitude when we must part with any of these? If we think we own it, we will cling desperately to it and be grieved when it is taken. If we realize it is all God's and returns to God, we can let go, graciously thanking Him for the short time we were blessed to be the stewards of God's things.

This acknowledgement of reality will also keep us from the selfish attitude that God owes us something. Romans 11:35 (NIV) 35"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? We have never given to God anything that was not already His. Now do you still feel as generous about that last big offering you gave? It was already God's. The act of giving at the leading of the Holy Spirit is just a reminder that we are only stewards that should act according to God's direction when He tells us to do something with what is already His.

Suggestion: Look around you. Imagine a name label on everything you see, "On loan from Almighty God." See how that changes your attitude toward all things.

October 2

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until 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.

This passage is known as the five (or four) fold ministry. God designed the church with servants as leaders. These servants have specific gifts. The church widely differs on whether there are apostles today. Apostle means an official representative. Peter described the roll of the Apostle as one who could testify as an eyewitness of the resurrection. In that sense of the word, the role of apostle is no more. Some compare the apostle to church planters today.

The role of prophet is also interpreted very differently in the church. Some see it as a similar role to the Old Testament prophet. Others point out Jesus' declaration that John was the last prophet (Luke 16:16). They see prophecy today as the timely Spirit directed presentation of the word. Still others believe this role ceased after the apostolic age.

Most agree on the role of an evangelist. They are those who are gifted to declare the Gospel in the power of the Spirit, winning many to Christ. The last two, pastor and teacher, are seen as one calling by most Greek scholars. This role is also widely accepted as those who teach and preach the word, while caring for the flock of God.

No matter what your interpretation of the ministries are, we can all see that their role is to prepare God's people for works of service. They are to build up the body so that it is unified, mature, and Christ like. These ministries are to assist the church in coming together in the knowledge of the Son of God. The more we focus on who Jesus is, the more unified we become. Though we may differ on the details, the main thing is knowing Christ.

Remember: A healthy church is one in which the leadership constantly helps you grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.