Jigsaw puzzles have been around for hundreds of years. Years ago European mapmakers pasted maps onto wood and then cut them into small pieces. Who of us doesn’t remember learning the geography of the United States using a puzzle map? Even The Rolling Stones wrote a song about the Jigsaw Puzzle in 1968 (which, by the way is a song they never performed live).
Every piece of a jigsaw puzzle is important, but jigsaw aficionados will tell you that you usually start solving the puzzle by finding the four corners. The four corners are key to completing the picture.
In a similar way, when God designed the Church he gave us “four corner” pieces. Paul alludes to these in Ephesians 4:11 when he writes, “And he (God) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastor-teachers” to the church. These four gifts are not more important than the rest, but they are foundational to the health and wellbeing of Jesus’ bride.
Paul is equally clear about the role and responsibility those so gifted are to have in the church. They are not to do all the work; rather, they are to equip others to do the ministry.
I once did a study on the Greek word translated ‘equip’ in Ephesians 4:12. What I discovered was there are three very powerful word pictures that help us understand what Paul meant. The first word picture is that of mending a net. After fishing all night, fishermen would return to shore to mend or ‘equip’ their nets. It’s what James and John were reported to have been doing in Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:9. Secondly, this word can also refer to treating someone with a compound fracture. Two bones are out of joint. So what does the doctor do? He sets the bone—he mends the bone—he ‘equips’ the bone so that what’s broken can return to its former strength. Thirdly, equip can refer to what a sailor does to outfit a ship before a voyage. The ship’s crew loads everything on board so that the ship is fully equipped.
For the past eight years BrookLink has been actively involved in mending nets, setting bones, and outfitting ships. In short, we’ve been ‘equipping’ pastors, church leaders and churches in many places across the world. And these kinds of spiritual deposits could not have been done without faithful financial supporters like you.
Your partnership has encouraged pastors who daily ‘mend’ the lives of people whose nets have been torn by the hardships of life in difficult places. Your gifts have enabled church leaders to re-set broken people—people broken by sin and substance abuse, poverty and persecution, vice and violence, false teachings and forced migrations. Your generosity has provided needed training and resources to outfit and hearten pastors for the journey ahead.
We are already busily planning and scheduling dates in 2017 to equip, empower and serve church leaders, and your financial generosity is needed as much now as ever. The summer months often pose challenges for non-profits like BrookLink, so please make a financial gift today as the Lord leads you to help us meet our ongoing expenses.
Every gift makes a difference and changes lives. Thank you for being generous partners and for helping us ‘equip the equippers.’ You are the reason we can accomplish the vision God has given us.
Together for Christ,
P.S. Today is great time to make a mid-year gift to BrookLink! To learn more about how you can make a gift, visit our donation page.