Chip Thornton

Chip Thornton is pastor at First Baptist Church-Springville.

The world has a way of corrupting even the best Christian’s mindset. C.H. Spurgeon said to a group of young ministers, “If God has called you to be His servant, don’t stoop to be a king.” The world teaches the highest calling on earth is to be a king. That might rank up there. But the highest calling on earth is to be a child of God committed to His faith-family.

The Puritan, Williams Perkins, says being a minister is “the greatest privilege given to either man or angel because it is clearly a commission to go and deliver people from the power of hell, to redeem them to be God’s children, and to make them heirs of heaven” (The Art of Prophesying, 115-116). That is not to say that everyone should quit their job and become a minister. God knows we need Christians in every job sector. It does, however, illustrate the supreme value God places on His congregation. The church, not the government, is the institution designed by God both to glorify Himself and to accomplish His will on the earth.

As these thoughts were rolling around in my mind, Ephesians 4 came in my quiet time. It’s not only ministers who have a high calling. Every Christian does: But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gifts (Ephesians 4:7). God uniquely gifted you. His design is that you use that gift: first, in your church and, second, in your personal life. What does the Scripture say?

Your gift was given to equip your faith-family (Eph 4:12), build up the body of Christ (Eph 4:12), and to present every believer mature in Christ (Eph 4:13). This won’t happen by accident. Ephesians 4:17 says all these gifts must be 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. This won’t happen by being absent.

We spend so much time on politics or making more money or helping goodwill causes, but neglect the weightier matter of serving our faith-family. Governments come and go. Even Rome fell after only 1,000 years. The church has lasted 2,000 years, and Jesus said even the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Reflect on your Christ-given grace-gift. Use it to strengthen your church. It is a better investment and a longer-lasting one. Stoop to the King. Don’t stoop to be king.

Chipley Thornton is pastor of First Baptist Church-Springville.

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