The Weymouth New Testament version of Ephesians 4:16 says “Dependent on Him, the whole body—it’s various parts closely fitting and firmly adhering to one another—grows by the aid of every contributory link, with power proportioned to the need of each individual part, so as to build itself up in a spirit of love.” The phrase—grows by the aid of every contributory link—reminds me how valuable every single person in the Body of Christ is to the grand plan that God has orchestrated concerning our time spent here on earth.
The word “contributory” is defined as “playing a part to bring something about.” How are we as members of the Body of Christ to play a part and to aid in bringing something about?
Since Jesus left the earth and ascended into Heaven, God appointed His body, the Church, to be His ambassador in the world. Individually, as members of the Body, we each have both general and specific parts to play. Generally speaking we are to be imitators of Christ in love, works, oneness with the Father and following the Spirit of God. Specifically we are to use the unique giftings that God has placed in each one of us to be implemented for His glory. Together, the general and specific components of our being enable us to aid the Body to become all God intended for it to be, to “build itself up in a spirit of love.”
Have you ever paid attention to the different people God has crossed your path with throughout your life? Some He places in your life to minister to you, and some are there for you to minister to them. In the best friendships, you minister to each other nearly equally. God weaves our lives together because we need each other. We can make each other better.
Speaking from my own life, I’m grateful that God has used many different people to speak a word of encouragement to me, or even a word of correction. They have contributed from their spiritual giftings to bring about spiritual growth in me. An example of this happened during a meeting that Brother Hagin was leading. He called me out, and told me, “Be satisfied.” That got my attention quick, and the Lord then spoke to me further saying, “Be satisfied in Me.” That moment changed my life, my perspective, and my paradigm. Those words to me facilitated a needed adjustment at that moment in my life.
Mindful that the enemy will repeatedly attempt to derail God’s plan for His Body, we must take responsibility to be alert to his attacks, always ready to answer the accusations that we aren’t important to the work of God. First Corinthians 12:18 (NIV) reassures us: “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.”
We must honor and trust the way God put us together as a person! With the right attitude toward ourselves, based on understanding the thoughts God has toward us, we will have the strength of soul to fulfill our position in the Body of Christ. God would have us to be confident in His purposes for us, in the “gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us” (Romans 12:6 KJV).
I also like the way the New Living Translation renders Ephesians 4:16. “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” I think it is vital that every single one of us in the Body of Christ sees ourselves as doing our “own special work” with the goal of the vitality and benefit of each other. This pleases God when we walk in faith, believing that what we are doing in our daily lives contributes to the well being of the whole Body of Christ.
How differently would your day play out if you were consistently aware of the impact that your life—with all its personal giftings—was having on your brothers and sisters in Christ? This is God’s intent, that we would all aid and support each other in the work of His plans in which we each have our specific part to play. We have contributions to make every day of our lives into the lives of others. To be used by God in such a way is what we live for, and what brings glory to Him.