PREACH OR PLOW?

| Tuesday 29th March, 2022

Our Daily Bread 2022 Annual Edition

By Dave Branon

Read: Ephesians 4:4–16 | Bible in a Year: Judges 7–8; Luke 5:1–16

From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

According to the family legend, two brothers, one named Billy and the other Melvin, were standing on the family’s dairy farm one day when they saw an airplane doing some skywriting. The boys watched as the plane sketched out the letters “GP” overhead.

Both brothers decided that what they saw had meaning for them. One thought it meant “Go preach.” The other read it as “Go plow.” Later, one of the boys, Billy Graham, dedicated himself to preaching the gospel, becoming an icon of evangelism. His brother Melvin went on to faithfully run the family dairy farm for many years.

Skywriting signs aside, if God did call Billy to preach and Melvin to plow, as seems to be the case, they both honored God through their vocations. While Billy had a long preaching career, his success doesn’t mean that his brother’s obedience to his calling to plow was any less important.

While God does assign some to be in what we call full-time ministry (Ephesians 4:11–12), that doesn’t mean those in other jobs and roles aren’t doing something just as important. In either case, as Paul said, “each part [should do] its work” (v. 16). That means honoring Jesus by faithfully using the gifts He’s given us. When we do, whether we “go preach” or “go plow,” we can make a difference for Jesus wherever we serve or work.

Read: Ephesians 4:4–16 

4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it[a] says:

“When he ascended on high,
    he took many captives
    and gave gifts to his people.”[b]

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

INSIGHT

  1. How can you use your gifts to honor God in your vocation?

  2. How can you encourage others you know so they too can use their calling as a way to serve Jesus?

In Ephesians 4, Paul states that when Christ ascended, He “gave gifts to his people” (v. 8). In Romans 12:3–8, Paul writes that believers in Jesus have been given individual gifts to be used to support others in the body of believers. Included in this list are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and showing mercy. In 1 Corinthians 12–14, Paul gives another list, along with detailed instructions on how to use these gifts to build up the church. These “gifts of the Spirit” are to be used “for the common good” (12:1, 7).

PRAYER

Help me, God, to be used right where You put me. Help me to see that my words, actions, and work ethic can profoundly affect others. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!!

Read: Ephesians 4:4–16 | Bible in a Year: Judges 7–8; Luke 5:1–16

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