Grace for Effectual Ministry - Locating, Cultivating, and Using Your Spiritual Giftings
Special Endowments for Special Tasks
By Guy Duininck
Guy Duininck earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethel College and attended Rhema Bible Training Center. Since 1981, Guy has traveled throughout the world teaching in local churches, Bible Schools and Ministers’ Conferences. With a strong emphasis on developing skilled spiritual leaders, strong local churches, and mature believers, Guy has significantly aided the Body of Christ in the places he travels. Guy has written five books, recorded six albums of his own music, and produced a number of audio teachings. The following article is an excerpt from Guy’s book, Grace for Effectual Ministry. You can obtain this book and learn more about Guy’s ministry by visiting his web-site at www.masterstouchministries.com. You can also find Guy on his Facebook page: Master's Touch Ministries.
The specific task God assigns each believer determines the specific variety of ministry grace He endows them with. This truth is beautifully expressed by the Amplified Bible’s rendering of Paul’ words,
“According to the grace (the special endowment for my task) of God bestowed upon me, like a skillful architect and master builder I laid [the] foundation...”
I Corinthians 3:10 Amp
I don’t know if the men who drafted the Amplified Bible were aware of the significant revelation about ministry grace they brought out in their rendering of I Corinthians 3:10. In any case, their amplification of the word “grace” is very accurate. They referred to grace as a “special endowment for [a] task.”
God had assigned Paul a specific task. To enable him to fulfill that task, God specially endowed him. Paul’s task was to lay spiritual foundations as a wise masterbuilder. The special endowment which enabled him to fulfill that task was the ministry grace God bestowed upon him.
Financial endowments are sometimes made by wealthy individuals. The general purpose of any endowment is to enable others to pursue and accomplish the special interest of the one who made the endowment. Endowments are not random gifts or spur of the moment investments, but are well thought out financial plans. By making financial endowments, endowers seek to ensure that interests they hold dear will be pursued by others, sometimes even after their death.
The person who makes an endowment chooses someone to manage his endowment. The chosen manager will oversee the endowment and administer it at the time and in the manner specified by the endower. No matter what other needs are present or how tempted the manager may be to use the endowment in another way, it can only be used as specified by the endower.
If a wealthy man had a strong interest in Spanish students becoming marine biologists, he could make a financial endowment to a particular university specifying that every year a full scholarship be granted to the most qualified Spanish student studying in that field. The university, as manager of the endowment, would be responsible to administer the appropriate amount of money each year to a student who met the criteria.
Another individual might make an endowment to a charitable organization that cares for the poor, specifying that $5,000 be given each year to a single mother who was raising a physically handicapped child. The charitable organization, as manager of the endowment, would be responsible to administer that money each year to a single mother who met the pre-determined criteria.
Old Testament Endowments
In the Old Testament, God enabled men to accomplish the special tasks He assigned by endowing them with special abilities. For example, when He wanted a tabernacle built, He called Bezaleel and Aholiab and filled them with “the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” [Ex. 31:2, 6]. He “put wisdom” in these men’s hearts so they “knew how to work all manner of work” [Ex. 35:35]. By the means of special endowments these men knew “how to work all manner of work” and made everything the Lord commanded [Ex. 36:1-39:31]. Specially endowed men also participated in the building of Solomon’s temple. When Solomon requested skilled and cunning men from Huram, he sent him those men and said,
“And now I have sent a cunning man, endued [endowed] with un- derstanding...skilful to work in gold...silver...brass...iron...stone...timber...fine linen...graving...”
II Chronicles 2:13-14
Near the beginning of his reign, Solomon requested for himself and received from God a substantial endowment of wisdom to rule Israel. Realizing that he was not qualified to perform the leadership task God had assigned him, he had asked for wisdom, saying,
“And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in...Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people.”
I Kings 4:7-9
Although Solomon had been chosen by God to lead the nation of Israel, he felt like a child who didn’t know how to go out or come in. Because he felt inadequate, he asked God to grant him wisdom; the ability he needed for the work God called him to. God answered Solomon with these words,
“Because thou hast asked this thing...for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart...”
I Kings 3:11-12
God gave Solomon a “wise and understanding heart.” By that special endowment of wisdom, he was able to serve as king and fulfilled the work God had called him to.
New Testament Grace Endowments
Immediately prior to His final ascent into heaven, Jesus commissioned the church to continue His ministry. He told His disciples,
“All power is given unto me...Go ye therefore, and teach all nations...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you...”
Matthew 28:18-19; Mark 16:15; John 20:21
Jesus not only commissioned the church to continue His ministry. He also endowed the church with the full measure of His ministry ability so that she could fulfill the great task given to her. Notice these words about that divine endowing,
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he...gave gifts unto men...”
Because of His deep love for the human race, Jesus supernaturally endowed the church, ensuring that the work He began would continue and succeed after He was gone. Some in the church were endowed with apostolic grace-gifts. Some were endowed with pastoral grace-gifts. Some were endowed with teaching grace-gifts. Others were endowed with healing grace-gifts, exhortation grace-gifts, giving grace-gifts, teaching grace-gifts, practical service grace-gifts, and administrative grace-gifts.
Peter’s words as rendered by the Amplified Bible offer us wonderful insight into New Testament grace endowments. He wrote,
“As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace...”
I Peter 4:10 Amp
Every believer has received a “gracious divine endowment.” These divine endowments enable believers to accomplish things they could not accomplish by their own means. Without grace endowments, no believer — not even the strongest, wisest, richest, smartest, and most personally developed — would have the means to accomplish the ministry they are called to. Grace endowments make effective ministry possible!
In the context of teaching the Corinthian church about ministry, Paul wrote,
“Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments [extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of Divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit.”
I Corinthians 12:4 Amp
The Amplified Bible’s rendering of I Corinthians 12:4 expresses the doctrine of grace for effectual ministry in a profound way. It reveals that Christians are different from one another because of the “distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments” given to them. It reveals that every Christian possesses a unique “extra-ordinary power” for service “due to the power of Divine grace” operating in them.
Paul’s and Peter’s Grace Endowments
Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia about his and Peter’s unique commissions and unique grace endowments. His words highlight the significant relationship between the task God assigns each believer and the grace endowment which enables them to accomplish that task. He wrote,
“...the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John...perceived the grace that was given unto me...”
The apostle Peter was commissioned by God to go to the circumcision. Therefore, God “wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision.” God assigned Peter the task of ministering to the Jews and, therefore, endowed him with the ability to minister to the Jews. Peter’s commission and his endowment were harmonious.
The apostle Paul was commissioned by God to go to the Gentiles. Therefore, God “was mighty in [him] toward the Gentiles.” God assigned Paul the task of ministering to the Gentiles and, therefore, endowed him with the ability to minister to the Gentiles. Paul’s commission and his endowment were harmonious.
Supernatural Sufficiency for Service
Paul referred to his supernatural endowment for service in his second letter to the Corinthians when he wrote,
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers...”
II Corinthians 3:5-6
Paul and his partners did not consider themselves to be sufficient of themselves for their ministries. The word “sufficient” comes from the Greek hikanos and means, “enough, or sufficient in ability.” The word “of” comes from the Greek ek and denotes the point of origin of something. According to Paul, there was nothing that originated within himself or within any of his ministry associates that made them sufficient for their ministry assignments.
Paul did not say, however, that he and his partners were insufficient for their tasks. He said, rather, “but our sufficiency is of God.” Here the word “sufficiency” comes from the Greek hikanotes and means, “the ability or competency to accomplish a thing.” Paul’s sufficiency was “of God.” In other words, God the Source endowed Paul and his partners with a divine competency to accomplish their ministry assignments.
The Amplified Bible renders Paul’s words this way,
“...but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.”
II Corinthians 3:5
In verse six, Paul said that God made he and his ministry partners “able ministers.” The word “able” comes from the Greek hikanoo which means, “to equip one with adequate powers to perform duties.” Paul and his ministry associates were endowed by God with adequate powers and the necessary sufficiency to perform their ministry duties!
Paul confirmed that he was endowed with supernatural ability in his first letter to Timothy when he wrote,
“And I thank Christ Jesus our lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry...”
I Timothy 1:12
Paul said that the Lord had “enabled” him. The word “enabled” comes from the Greek endunamoo which literally means, “inward dunamis.” To be enabled means, “to be inwardly endued with the power to accomplish whatever is willed.” The Lord Jesus not only put Paul into the ministry; He also put dunamis into Paul so that he could accomplish his ministry.
A few years ago, I was speaking with the pastor of a church where I was ministering. During our conversation, he asked for my advice concerning a problem in his church. I got quiet and listened to my heart to see if the Holy Spirit had anything special to say. Before I could think, I heard myself ask this pastor, “Are you sure you are called by God to be a pastor?” He thought for a moment and answered in the affirmative. Then I asked him, “Are you sure you are called by God to pastor this church?” Again, he answered in the affirmative. Then I told him, “It is not possible that you are truly called to pastor this church and don’t know what to do.” He looked at me in a kind of surprised way and said, “You know, you are right. I actually do know what to do. I was just a little unsure of myself.”
When God calls any believer to any assignment, He endows them with the supernatural sufficiency and the adequate power to accomplish that assignment. God will never give a believer an assignment that supersedes the divine sufficiency He has granted. No believer, then, should ever suppose that he is under-endowed for his task!
Timothy’s Grace Endowment
Paul exhorted Timothy to pay attention to his special inward min- istry endowment with these words,
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.”
I Timothy 4:14
Timothy’s gift [charisma] was not a special anointing that came upon him unexpectedly or an occasional manifestation of the Spirit. His gift was a resident inward endowment of God-ability that had been imparted to him during a sacred time of prayer, prophecy, and laying on of hands. This gift was “given” to Timothy. “Given” comes from the Greek didomi which means, “to give over or to commit to someone’s care something to be administered.” According to Paul, Timothy could either neglect his resident inward endowment or he could cultivate and use it.
Weymouth translates I Timothy 4:14 this way,
“Do not be careless about the gifts with which you are endowed.” I Timothy 4:14
The Amplified Bible renders Paul’s words to Timothy this way,
“Do not neglect the gift which is in you, that special inward endowment, which was directly imparted to you by the Holy Spirit...”
I Timothy 4:14 Amp
According to the Amplified Bible, Timothy’s grace-gift was a “special inward endowment” directly imparted to him by the Holy Spirit.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul exhorted him with these words,
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.”
II Timothy 1:6
Again, Paul reminded Timothy of his indwelling charisma, or grace-gift, and exhorted him to pay attention to it. Evidently, Timothy’s resident gift did not stir him up. Rather, Timothy was to stir up his resident gift.
In some cases, as with Paul and Timothy, God can impart or enhance a grace-gift through the laying on of hands.
I remember a meeting I attended in 1981 before I started to travel in my teaching ministry. Kenneth E. Hagin was teaching in that meeting, but he also took time to lay hands on those who were going into full time ministry. I went forward in that service and he laid his hands on me. While driving home after that meeting I said to myself, almost without conscious thought, “I am ready to teach now.” I believe that a grace to teach was either imparted to me at that time or that a teaching grace I already possessed was actuated or enhanced.
In a meeting I conducted several years ago something similar happened. A young musician in the church where I was ministering approached me after my teaching and asked me to lay hands on him to enhance his music ministry. Initially I hesitated, but then felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. When I laid hands on him, I felt something go into him and watched as he fell to the floor. I knew that something special had transpired. A year later this young man reported to me that his ministry had changed significantly, that his song writing had been greatly enhanced, and that he and his wife had won an award as amateur Christian musicians.
More recently, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to lay hands on a teaching elder in a local church. I sensed that God wanted to add something to that person in terms of teaching ability. I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, laid hands on that person, and ministered a brief word of knowledge to them. Several months later the pastor of the church remarked to me that the person I had ministered to was noticeably more effective in their teaching.
Grace endowments continue to be measured out by the Lord Jesus right up to this present day. For every need in the world and for every purpose of God a vessel is called, saved, placed in the body of Christ, and endowed with a unique ministry grace. By the means of supernatural grace endowments, chosen vessels accomplish the unique tasks God assigns them in His kingdom.