In Ephesians 4:11-12, we see that there are five ministry gifts mentioned which are for the purpose of equipping the Christian church. There is some debate about whether this is intended to be an exhaustive list of gifts that equip people and then whether these gifts are uniquely given versus available to all. There is, however, a fascinating aspect to this equipping that indeed makes the contribution of everyone relevant, whether it is small or large.
The word, translated as ‘equipping’ in this context, is the same one used to describe the mending of nets by the disciples, James and John, who were called to follow Jesus in Matthew 4:21. The reason these fisherman mended their nets was, of course, to ensure that all the fibres would work together to better catch fish and to ensure that the nets had no holes.
When we all contribute our gifts and talents to the common cause of building God’s Kingdom, we can never ‘fish’ in isolation. We are interconnected with others in a common mission and lend our best efforts to mending the holes that show up in the net that we are a part of. We therefore can’t tear the net or prioritise some parts of the net.
One hole can undermine the net’s purpose, so the net is only as good as its weakest part. What redemptive hope that brings to the very least, weakest or newest among us.