And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
[Ephesians 4:10-13 NKJV]
Pastors and teachers can appear almost like an afterthought, but the actuality is that this category (which I believe includes a whole variety of ministries mentioned by Paul elsewhere*) is that it is the workhorse for most of what the Lord wishes to accomplish in His people.
The Apostles, Prophets and Evangelists maybe have star billing, but it is the pastors and teachers who put God’s word into the everyday. No one anywhere is more worthy than another, so that none should cover the Lord’s gift to another. Everyone who comes to Him has a God-given rôle to play. We saw that in the previous post in this series, quoting the message ‘God’s Gift’ from Liz Griffin at Ellel Ministries.
But ‘my ministry’ is not an achievement that we should wear as a badge of honour. Instead it should be something treated with humility, as a precious — and dare I say it — an undeserved gift from above. None of us know why the Lord chooses any of us for His holy purpose, but we should know that His gift is as easily withdrawn if we fail to live up to the trust that He has placed in us. We should never take it for granted.
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 we read And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. No mention here of pastors, who generally do not figure or warrant a mention except in Ephesians. Teachers however are frequently mentioned, and perhaps that is because for the pastoral to be effective there must be a large teaching element to it. The two are not exactly synonymous, but heavily rely on one another, as Paul suggests by placing them together in Ephesians 4:10.
A HOLY OCCUPATION: Oswald Chambers on Prayer
As long as we are self-sufficient and complacent, we don’t need to ask God for anything, we don’t want Him; it is only when we know we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to do what He says.
[from ‘If Ye Shall Ask’ (now entitled ‘If You Shall Ask’)]
Click on the download link below to listen to this meditation
“Spirit Lead Me” — Michael Ketterer and Influence Music
'Meditate on these things'
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
[Ephesians 2:19-20 NKJV]
GEORGE and GILL STEWART