Working as Members of the Body of Christ

“No one is accountable for the talents he has never had; none should complain of the smallness of their gifts.”

“The talents that Christ entrusts to His church represent especially the gifts and blessings imparted by the Holy Spirit. . . . All men do not receive the same gifts, but to every servant of the Master some gift of the Spirit is promised.

“Before He left His disciples, Christ ‘breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.’ John 20:22. Again He said, ‘Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you.’ Luke 24:49. But not until after the ascension was the gift received in its fullness. Not until through faith and prayer the disciples had surrendered themselves fully for His working was the outpouring of the Spirit received. Then in a special sense the goods of heaven were committed to the followers of Christ. ‘When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.’ Ephesians 4:8. ‘Unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ,’ the Spirit ‘dividing to every man severally as He will.’ Ephesians 4:7; 1 Corinthians 12:11. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God. . . .

“It is the absence of the Spirit that makes the gospel ministry so powerless. Learning, talents, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner be won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them the channel for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe.”1

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“Later in the history of the early church, when in various parts of the world many groups of believers had been formed into churches, the organization of the church was further perfected, so that order and harmonious action might be maintained. Every member was exhorted to act well his part. Each was to make a wise use of the talents entrusted to him. Some were endowed by the Holy Spirit with special gifts—‘first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.’ 1 Corinthians 12:28. But all these classes of workers were to labor in harmony.”2

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“God has given to every man talents in trust. To every man He has given his work. There can be no idlers in His vineyard. Each has most earnest, sacred, solemn work to do for the Master. To everyone is committed some work to do, and none are excused. . . .

“The entrusted talents are not reserved for a favorite few who are exalted above their fellow men in education, in smartness of intellect. The talents are endowments bestowed upon the Lord’s family individually, from the lowliest and most obscure to those who are in highest positions of trust. The entrusted gifts are proportioned to our varied capabilities, and everyone is to use these talents to God’s glory. He is to increase their usefulness because through using them he becomes more and better qualified to trade on his Lord’s goods and to accumulate by trading. The light of truth and all spiritual advantages are the Lord’s gifts. They are to be appreciated and are to have influence upon the mind and character. We are to return to God corresponding increase, according to the gifts entrusted.

“We have by grace been chosen as His servants. A servant means a worker, one who bears cares, burdens, responsibilities. . . . We are to realize that it is not our goods we are handling, but the Master’s entrusted capital for us to invest and increase as wise stewards of our Lord’s goods, that we may return to Him His investment with usury. We cannot hoard the Lord’s goods and do nothing with it; thus did the slothful servant with his one pound, and lost his soul. Every man has a solemn work to do and he cannot trifle with his time; he cannot trifle with his privileges and his opportunities granted him. He must improve in character, in ability, according to his privileges and opportunities, to make a complete worker in the cause of God.”3

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“The Lord God of heaven, who made our world, and who created man, guards the interests of every soul. To every man He has given his work. We are laborers together with God. There are diversities of gifts, and every man should appreciate the moral and spiritual capital which God has entrusted to him. No one should treat these entrusted talents with indifference. No one is accountable for the talents he has never had; none should complain of the smallness of their gifts. Everyone is to trade on that which God has entrusted to him, working where he can, doing the best possible service for the Master. One talent, well used, will gain other talents, and these still others. The man with a few pence can serve God faithfully with his pence. If he does this, he is judged as faithful in the sight of God as the one who has improved pounds.

“But all are to realize their individual responsibility to employ their talents to the glory of God according to their ability. Let no man or council of men assume the responsibility of making as little as possible of these talents, according to their human estimate of God’s entrusted qualifications. No man is to weigh in the balances of human judgment the talents God has given to other men. Let every man appreciate God’s gifts to himself, and faithfully trade upon them. No man is to merge his individuality into that of any other man. No man should be urged to make another man his steward. There are diversities of gifts, and a large work to be done in our world in the use of God’s entrusted goods. . . . Let us never forget that we are here to be fashioned by the hand of God, fitted to do the work He has given us to do. That work is our own, the accountability is our own; it cannot be transferred to another. Let not human agents interpose to take another’s work out of the hands of God into their own finite hands.”4

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“The Lord has not qualified any one of us to bear the burden of the work alone. He has associated together men of different minds, that they may counsel with and assist one another. In this way the deficiency in the experience and the abilities of one is supplied by the experience and the abilities of another. We should all study carefully the instruction given in Corinthians and Ephesians regarding our relation to one another as members of the body of Christ.

“In your work, . . . you must consider the relation that each worker sustains to the other workers connected with the cause of God. You must remember that others as well as yourself have a work to do in connection with this cause. You must not bar your mind against counsel. . . .

“We are connected with the service and cause of God, and we must individually realize that we are parts of a great whole. We must seek wisdom from God, learning what it means to have a waiting, watching spirit, and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed. Trust in God, not in man’s judgment alone.

“You must learn to give up your will and your way, and to receive light from those whom God has made His helping hand, those by whom He designs that you shall be helped. Go to Christ for relief. Cling to Him. Stay long enough to yield up your will to the will of God.”5


1. Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 327, 328.

2. The Acts of the Apostles, p. 91.

3. This Day With God, p. 208.

4. The Publishing Ministry, p. 138.

5. This Day With God, p. 154.