Giving Gifts

Jonathan Brownson

READ : Ephesians 4:1-16

This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave

gifts to men.” (v. 8 NIV)

Our son Sam served on the homecoming court at his high school. He sat on top of a
convertible for our hometown parade and waved to the assembled crowd. Sam “ascended” in a
car and led “captivated” spectators in his “train.” But Sam also gave. Everyone who
marched or rode in the parade threw candy to the crowd. You can imagine how kids

All right, I admit it. It’s a stretch as an illustration. But it does point us in the
right direction — toward Paul’s picture of the risen Son of God. He describes Jesus in
his ascension freeing his captive disciples and “parading” over the powers of evil. Then
Jesus pulls out his bag of gifts.

In the Reformed Church in America we have elders and deacons. If we believe Ephesians,
we also have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Jesus’ gifts to his
people consist of those who provide leadership in the life of the church.

Have you ever thought God is calling you to some service for the benefit of his church?
What if you have an unopened gift — or rather, what if you are an unopened
gift — that could help “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of
Christ may be built up” (v. 12)? Imagine Jesus picking you out of the crowd. Then imagine
being sent by him to lead through devoted service.


Lord, let me lead others using your gifts to build up your church.