Blessed and Borrowed: The Grace of God’s Gifts

Tim Catchim, co-author of A Permanent Revolution, commented in a recent conversation a truth so simple and plain that it’s easy to miss altogether:

“The gifts of APEST are competencies that are all borrowed from Jesus. Since they are all his, all in him, we borrow them from Him.”

It’s a refreshing perspective and one that we need to remember. Too often, I take the reins of ministry as though it was something I had to manufacture or produce on my own. I forget. I forget that I am the co-laborer, not the owner.

When we look to the letter to Ephesus, we find that Paul teaches that these gifts are given to the church by Christ himself (4:7). Each capacity is on loan, as it were, to accomplish in the Church and in the world, the work of the Father’s Kingdom. Jesus is the model and the method. He is the giver and gift. The work of APEST through us, is the work of Jesus in us.

So, it is really important that we learn to adapt and align our thinking to the reality that all five gifts are deeply and indelibly rooted in the person of Jesus. Embodying them in our ministries becomes a work of grace, instead of a grind.

If we take the pattern/form of Jesus as determinative for every aspect of his Body, then it stands to reason that the life of his people must be directly formed around the life and teaching of Jesus. And it is this necessary correspondence between Jesus and his people that sets the primary template for the culture and expression of the church. He is the Archetype and we are to be the reflective image (e.g., Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18) that are together and individually being conformed to his likeness.

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:10–11

 Or as George Beasley-Murray put it, “The apostles were commissioned to carry on Christ’s work, and not to begin a new one.” This is as true for us as it was for the original apostles.

Having established the centrality of Jesus for the identity and purposes of his people, we are now ready to look at the actual ministry of Jesus through the prism of each of the APEST categories to see how he both fulfills and redefines them. Once we have identified 5Q as perfectly exemplified in the life and ministry of Jesus, we can then see how he grafts these into the foundations of the church. There is real value in seeing these as identities, or divine personas, which Jesus reconstitutes and bequeaths to his people.

Alan Hirsch, 5Q

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Mt 11: 28-29 (MSG)

Jesus is describing a posture that is supported in the ministry of APEST and in Tim’s comment about it. When the body invests in and increases its 5Q capacities, living freely and rightly, moving in an unforced rhythm of grace is what flows out of it.

The work of APEST ministry in the body of Christ is embracing this posture of grace: receiving, releasing and reflecting the ministry of Jesus.


When we start on this journey, it can feel like a scramble to produce the Apostolic (or any gift). “Where are we going to find one?” “How do I do more apostolic things?” This is a bit of trap. Jesus teaches us to walk with him and work with him – watching how he lives and moves and has his being.

There is an invitation here. Receive that gifts that you have been given. Pray about them. Ask about them. One of the reasons we don’t know our gifts is because we are trying to figure them out ourselves. Have you asked five people who know you to help you discover the gifts that Jesus has given you? Have you given anyone the grace to join you in an act of discovery?


In the Matthew verse, there’s this picture of going from greatly burdened to greatly freed. Life with Jesus is about eliminating layers of complexity and embracing his simple rhythm. It encourages us to stop worrying about every instrument in the symphony and just playing the one in our hands. Our job is to contribute to the whole, not create from nothing.

If our ministry gifting is borrowed from Jesus, then ought we not trust the gift and release it? There’s not much use for a call held captive. Recently, Rich Robinson, posted an article on team building that describes what releasing APEST looks like in a posture of ease and grace.

Brad Brisco tweeted these five questions from the post, synthesizing in a few words what it looks like as all five gifts are released: moving, listening, sharing, caring, learning. What do you find yourself spending the most time doing? You are probably already blessing your neighborhood with your gift on loan.


Mirrors not only reflect an image of what is in front of them, but if positioned correctly, they have the capacity to reflect light into dark places. They don’t create the light. They pass it on. Where are you positioned? Are you in a place where the ministry of Jesus, through you, can reflect light in places that need it?

What might it look like for you to position yourself where light is needed and where your gift will be a blessing?

Let’s wrap up where we began.

“The gifts of APEST are competencies that are all borrowed from Jesus. Since they are all his, all in him, we borrow them from Him.”

Think about this as you go through the week.

How does it cause you to feel knowing this?

Does it change the way you approach anything?

How might this simple statement transform the way you receive, release and reflect the APEST gifting that you have borrow from the Lord?

The 5Q Collective offers a 360 Assessment tool to help you invite others who know you well into the process of uncovering your 5Q capacities. This is not a sales post. Our goal is to equip you as best we can to really get moving on your 5Q journey.