Posted by: Brian Musser | May 4, 2014

Gifted Work

Work-Ship – Week Four:  The Spirit At Work – Day Twenty-Five:  Gifted Work 

The first week we came to the conclusion that our definition of work must be based on God’s work.  If we are going to figure out what work is, how we are supposed to work and the proper place work should have in our lives it must be rooted in the way God works.  So we are in the middle of our three week exploration of the work of God organizing our conversation through the lens of the Trinity.

  • Week Two – The Father at Work
  • Week Three – The Son at Work
  • Week Four – The Spirit at Work

By the end of this week we will be finished with our three week examination into the work of God and we will be halfway done the entire 56 day devotional.  This week we will be looking at the work of the third member of the Trinity, God the Holy Spirit.  Quite often the Holy Spirit is the overlooked or misrepresented member of the Trinity.  This is due to the nature of the Holy Spirit’s work.  God the Father’s work was in Creation, creating and sustaining it.  We can see tangible evidence of the Father’s work everywhere around us.  God the Son’s work was in history, redeeming and communicating.  We have the written records of the Son’s work.  But God the Holy Spirit works in the inner realm of humanity.  The Spirit’s work is to influence us.  The Spirit works on and in humanity empowering and convicting us.  This makes the Spirit’s work less accessible, less verifiable, less categorize-able.  The Spirit’s work is all about influence.  When we are at work influencing others we are working like the Holy Spirit.  This influence manifests itself in two broad categories:

  • Getting others to do good or empowering.
  • Getting others to stop doing evil or convicting.

Empowering and convicting are the two main ideas we will explore as we explore the work of the Holy Spirit.   Today let’s take a look at Ephesians and how the Spirit’s work of gifting Christians affects our work.  When we examine Ephesians quickly we see there are a few passages that offer some explicit comments about our work.  For example:

Ephesians 4:28 (NIV) Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

And also Ephesians 6:5 – 9 is a passage directly applicable to our work with the Ephesians 6:7 being often cited in reference to work.

Ephesians 6:7  (NIV) Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people,

But let’s look at how these verses fit into the larger context of the letter from the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians churches.  In the beginning of chapter 2 Paul reminds the Ephesians that they were dead in their trespasses and sins but by grace they were saved through faith.  This salvation did not come by works but it enabled them to do the good works they were created to accomplish.  Because they were all saved by the same salvation they should be united in love.  It is the work of the Spirit that unites them.  This reminds me of Christ’s prayer in the garden (John 17:21 and 23) before His death that the church should be united so that the world will know that God sent Him.  Paul in Ephesians 3:10 claims that the church makes known the wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.

As we turn to chapter 4 Paul admonishes them to live a life worthy of this high calling.  Returning to the idea of unity through the Spirit and then letting them know that the gifts given by Christ to the church are for the edification; for building up of the church.  Although not expressed here we know from other passages these gifts are given by Christ through the Holy Spirit.  So these gifts enable the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to build up the church for the work of ministry.  Gifts are given to the church to use within the church to create mature Christ followers so that these mature Christ followers can as a whole fulfill the mission and purpose of the church which is to make the wisdom of God known throughout the creation and even in the heavenly realms.  So gifts are given in the context of the church to be used to build the body of Christ up so that the body of Christ can fulfill its purpose which is to make the Christ known in all of creation.

So what does this look like?  As chapter 4 closes and in chapters 5 and 6, Paul gives some very detailed examples of what this looks like.  Some of these examples are in the workplace, others are in the personal and relational sphere, and then some are in the households.  I would like to state that the household was not just solely a relational entity in the Biblical context.  The household within the agrarian culture was a workplace unit and even within the artisan class of craftsmen, the household revolved around the work too.  Within the progression from husbands and wives, to parents and children  then to masters and slaves illustrates this concept.  Slaves were included within the household because work life and domestic life were not separated.

In conclusion, Christ gives gifts through the Holy Spirit to the church to edify and build up the body of Christ.  These gifts are to help us become more Christlike.  One of the most important ways to put our “Christlikeness” on display is in the workplace.  Putting our Spirit developed “Christlikeness” on display in the workplace is one of the specific ways the church can fulfill its mission of making Christ known throughout the creation.  How can the Holy Spirit’s work within the church better equip you to be Christlike in the workplace?  How can you use the Holy Spirit’s gifting within your life to better equip those in your church to be more Christlike in the workplace?

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