Spiritual Gifts and Kingdom Priorities

Jesus is risen from the dead and is now reigning as King of the church. As King, he sets the priorities for the mission of the church in the world.

Another thing that Jesus does now that he is risen and ascended into heaven is to give gifts to the church (Eph. 4:7-12). So how do these two things go together? How do the priorities of the kingdom affect our use of the spiritual gifts that the risen Christ gives us? Edmund Clowney gives some helpful remarks here:

“We use our gifts in order to serve God, not in order to advance ourselves, attract the admiration of others, or even find satisfaction and fulfillment. We cannot demand that the Lord provide precisely the socket into which our gifts may best be plugged. Our first goal is to get the job done, and only secondarily to find the best use of our gifts.” The Church, p. 65-66.

For instance, we don’t hear of Paul complaining that he had to be a tent-maker in order to support himself even though that might not seem to us like the best use of his time. After all, God was in control of that. He was happy to totally give himself to the opportunities before him. And God is in control of the opportunities that each Christian has to serve him. So we also ought to “redeem the time” by making the most of every opportunity (Col. 4:5).

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