A Reflection

"For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money...[Matthew 24:14-30 New Revised Standard Version]

Ministers have been given certain gifts and churches are entrusted with the gifts this person offers in order that they can flourish and grow together. Within each church there are other gifts and complimentary abilities that are to be used so that the Reign of God can be empowered and expanded.

We need to be aware of our own gifts and the gifts of those around us.

Thinking personally,

All around me are people with the gifts I lack. We need one another and we need a structure which encourages us to share our gifts. We are not meant to stand alone. We are part of the body, one small part of the whole [1 Corinthians 12]. Paul was so emphatic about our need for one another. No matter how weak we seem we add strength to the whole. Our big powerful, rich churches believe they can stand alone, that they do not need their weaker sisters, yet there is strength in weakness [2 Corinthians 12] and the whole body is made stronger by such weakness. Just as one minister can not stand alone from the gifts offered by the congregation and the surrounding community, so one church can not stand alone from the gifts offered by the churches with which they are linked.

The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. ... But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.[Ephesians 4:11-16 New Revised Standard Version]

On such wisdom is based our whole Reformed idea of shared leadership. The Minister is one elder amongst many. The gifts of each Elder are supported, complimented, nurtured and supplemented by the greater gifts of the whole.

To those who are prepared to take the gifts they have been given and to use them, so many more will be given.

To those who show they can be entrusted with a small portion of the Master's property there will come greater responsibility and the joy that comes with such trust.

For those who bury gifts there is only

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A Postmodern Ministry? Art and original art work © Craig Neil Muir, August 2000