NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ephesians 2:8-10, 4:11-12; 1 Peter 2:4-10
- What does it mean to be part of a kingdom of priests?
- Do you have a spiritual gift? Do you know what spiritual gift(s) you have? What does it mean to have a spiritual gift?
- What ministries in your church would not get done if everyone expected the pastor, church staff, or another church leader to do that ministry? – What ministry in your church will not get done if you don’t use your spiritual gift to do that ministry?
Food for thought with Jeff Iorg*:
When you encounter the word “shadow,” what images and thoughts cross your mind? Tales have probably conditioned us to think of lurking dangers and the need for heightened awareness.
But when seminary president and author Jeff Iorg writes of Shadow Christians, he has no such negative or threatening concept in mind. For Iorg, this shadow comes from residing outside the spotlight of public attention. Shadow Christians, then, are the overwhelming majority of us who serve in the background or shadows of limelight Christians.
Shadow Christians can feel unimportant and believe their contributions don’t matter, since they and their efforts reside behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. But in this session Iorg, including himself among Shadow Christians, asserts “God Values Us Highly.” Because others might not know who we are or what contributions we make doesn’t mean God is likewise unaware. Quite the opposite, He knows fully. More than that, He values us and our contributions!
How do we know that? What evidence can we find to support that God values shadow Christians? To begin with, He made us “a kingdom of priests.” God had made provision for priests for His people beginning in the second book of the Bible. They were part of the spotlight group. But with Christ’s provision of salvation, we become part of “a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5).
Some of the people we know won’t listen to or trust Spotlight Christians, but God has given Shadow Christians the opportunity to earn the trust and gain the ears of those unreceptive to Spotlight Christians.
And God has given each of us – Shadow Christians as well as Spotlight Christians – spiritual gifts to use in His service (Ephesians 4:11-12). He values Shadow Christians enough to equip us to be part of His work, not just as a cheering section but as participants. God has gifted Shadow Christians to perform tasks by Spotlight Christians don’t fulfill.
*Jeff Iorg is president of Gateway Seminary.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at lifeway.com/masterwork.