Now about the gifts of the Spirit,brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 1 Corinthians 12:1 (NIV)
I am sitting here tonight listening to four ordained men talk about preaching, how to prepare for it. It’s amazing to me how we have changed what the 1st century church did. How did we get from identifying gifts among our fellowships and working together in ministry to accomplish the mission that God has given to a fellowship? Instead we have dumped all the “ministry” on to the “ordained” or licensed people, pay them like it is their job to share the Good News! My friends, Jesus told His disciples – that is you and me – to GO! And no one person has all the Spirit’s gifts! We are expecting one person to be a great teacher and a great pastor and a great organizer and be able to relate to children, teens and senior saints! I’ve never met such a person!
I want to be a part of a fellowship in which everyone has their “tent-making” jobs. Our offerings would go to the poor and needy, not to salaries. Those in the group with administrative gifts would handle the communication and finances etc. Those who teach would teach. Those who are good with visiting the sick would do that. If you are part of this fellowship there would be an expectation of service but it would be service you are gifted for and have a Godly passion about!
When I was a little girl, one of the first Golden Books I had was about Nurse Nancy. I always knew that caring for people who were sick and injured was something that I loved to do. And for over 30 years I worked at doing what I loved. As I am writing this, tears come to my eyes because I am so blessed to have been able to do that. I am in a different season now and I am still tearful because God has shown me how I also have gifts to do what I am doing in writing and publishing. Are we helping our children and young people identify what they are passionate about? Are we putting them into ministry as children or do they have to wait until they are 21 or married? (Lord, help us!) My granddaughters are part of a group of children who pray together and they are learning about discernment and listening to God and pray for others. That is awesome! Jesus pointed to children as our examples of faith, so why wouldn’t we use them in prayer groups? And I know some teens who truly do have the gift of teaching and others who are gifted musicians. Let’s put them into worship leadership!
We are in a world which continues to decline in its moral standards and ability to truly make a difference in people’s lives. It’s time to “fish or cut bait,” my friends. We need to make a decision on whether we are going to make God and His Kingdom our #1 priority in life and the life of our family or are we going to keep living the same world-driven life with some expectation that there will be a different outcome.
My dear friends, remember the warning you were given by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.18 They told you that near the end of time, selfish and godless people would start making fun of God. 19 And now these people are already making you turn against each other. They think only about this life, and they don’t have God’s Spirit.
20 Dear friends, keep building on the foundation of your most holy faith, as the Holy Spirit helps you to pray. 21 And keep in step with God’s love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life. 22 Be helpful to all who may have doubts.23 Rescue any who need to be saved, as you would rescue someone from a fire. Then with fear in your own hearts, have mercy on everyone who needs it. But hate even the clothes of those who have been made dirty by their filthy deeds.
24-25 Offer praise to God our Savior because of our Lord Jesus Christ! Only God can keep you from falling and make you pure and joyful in his glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power, and authority. Amen. Jude 17-25 (CEV)
Be Thou My Vision written by Dallán Forgaill and sung by Allison Krause