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Serving at the Pleasure

Today's Devotional

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. Ephesians 4:15

Andrew Card was the Chief of Staff to American president George W. Bush. In an interview regarding his role in the White House he explained, “In each staff member’s office hangs a framed statement of purpose: ‘We serve at the pleasure of the President.’ But that does not mean that we serve to please the President or to win his or her pleasure. Rather, we serve to tell him what he needs to know to do his job.” That job is to govern the United States of America.

In so many of our roles and relationships, we slip into people-pleasing mode rather than building up each other in unity, as the apostle Paul often urged. In Ephesians 4, Paul wrote, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith” (vv. 11-13). In verses 15-16, Paul cut through our people-pleasing tendencies, stressing that these gifts should be expressed by “speaking the truth in love” so that “the whole body . . . grows and builds itself up in love.”

As believers in Jesus, we serve people to build them up and to accomplish God’s purposes. Whether or not we please others, we’ll please God as He works through us to create unity in His church.

Who do you serve to please? How might God’s higher presence direct your words?

Dear God, I want to please You by speaking the truth in love to my brothers and sisters.

For further study, read Words Matter: Speaking with Wisdom in an Age of Outrage.


In the New Testament, several passages list spiritual gifts given by the Spirit to believers in Jesus to serve the body of Christ. The two primary lists are found in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Some scholars include Ephesians 4:11, but others believe this listing pertains to the roles or offices of leadership within the church rather than to spiritual gifts. Effectiveness in these offices is predicated upon the gifts listed in Romans and 1 Corinthians. For example, to be effective in the role of pastor-teacher (Ephesians 4:11), having the gift of teaching would be of paramount importance (Romans 12:7). Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 seem to focus on the gifts themselves, while in Ephesians 4, the emphasis seems to be on gifted people.

By |2024-07-01T02:33:13-04:00July 1st, 2024|
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