How have we been equipped for the work God called us to?
As I look back over the decades of my walk with God—including almost 20 years serving with The Navigators—and consider what the Scriptures say, a few sections of Paul’s letters summarize my primary answers to this question.
In his first letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul clarifies the source of every one of their (and our) individual and collective gifts, service, and activities:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
As we seek to nurture, mature in, and steward well the things God has given us, we are forever indebted to and dependent upon the Giver of our gifts, areas of service, and activities He assigns us in the work of the gospel. God has indeed equipped us with everything good that we may do His will (Hebrews 13:20-21)!
In his final letter of encouragement, exhortation, and instruction to Timothy, Paul reminded him of his spiritual heritage and how from an early age God had used the sacred writings in his life, ending with this reminder:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
How grateful we ought to be for the biblical foundations that have been laid in our lives by people of God and have continued to be reinforced and built upon. May we indeed be workers of the gospel who rightly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)!
In his letter to the Ephesian believers, Paul reminds them that the God who gave them every spiritual blessing in Christ (1:3-14) and gave them the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:17), is also the One who gave each one their calling to equip others for the work of ministry and build up the body of Christ in love.
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
God has used a variety of His people to build us up in Christ and equip us for the work of ministry. As we have graciously received, let us similarly give of ourselves to others!