Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I couldn't have done it without you...

“I couldn’t have done it without you.”  This common, every day expression of humility and recognition of the value of team work came alive from a whole other perspective at the Beth Moore live simulcast last Saturday as she suggested her second principle:
“An individual calling can only be fulfilled in a ‘we’ context.” 

It is not hard to find Biblical illustrations to proof this principle.  Beth chose to look at Paul.  One of the greatest pillars of our faith, the ex-Pharisee whom God chose to be the apostle to the gentiles so we, today, may know Him, needed to be in good company in order to fulfill his great commission.  He traveled all around the known world of his time in the company of those whom God had appointed to form his very own “we” context.  He needed these companions in order to fulfill his destiny.  He “could not have done it without them.” 

The need for companionship is most evident when, nearing the end of his career on this earth, Paul sent out a moving plea to his friends to come and be with him as he saw his last hour approaching.  At that time, however, only Luke remained.  As a matter of fact, Luke probably was the one writing down 2 Timothy as Paul dictated it.  It was probably Luke’s pen which wrote the urgent plea of verse 9:  Do your best to come to me quickly,” for the others had left him and “only Luke is with me.”  It is chilling to imagine Luke as he heard Paul dictate the words, “…only Luke is with me.”  Luke, the physician who joined Paul’s adventures somewhere between verses 8 and 10 of Acts chapter 16, became Paul’s “we” context.  It was a very lean “we.”  It was a “we” of just two; but a mighty “we” context nonetheless. 

Likewise Jesus developed His ministry within a “we” context.  He didn’t need to do so.  Jesus didn’t need the help of anybody to fulfill His redemptive plan; but He chose to walk in “good company.”  He is our greatest example on how to live our lives, and what He showed us was that we need others so we don’t have to walk alone.  His yoke is light because He carries it for us and because He gives us the opportunity to have other believers around who can lend a hand. 

He also gives us gifts to be put at the service of others.  Out of these gifts, God designs our mission.  While He does stretch us and pulls us out of our comfort zone, He doesn’t call us to a destiny that we are not equipped for.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NASB)  He will fulfill His purpose for me, like Psalm 138:8 says.  And in order to do so, He provides the necessary gifts through His Holy Spirit.  These gifts are not for our sole benefit.  Like Peter tells us in his first letter, chapter 4:10:  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.” 

God empowers us to administer His grace to others within the context of Christian fellowship.  Therefore, the gifts we have received from God must go back to Him in the form of service to His children.  We are the vessels of His grace and His grace must overflow from our cup to bathe others in it.  What good is there if we are filled with grace but keep it to ourselves?  Grace becomes wasted in an immovable pool of stagnant water.  Hording grace doesn’t benefit anybody.  Grace must flow like a river.  The more it overflows, the more it fills up again with fresh blessings and provision.  The more we strive toward putting our Spiritual Gifts at the service of our brothers and sisters in Christ, the more we are refueled by new and refreshed portions of His grace.  Something else miraculous happens as we serve others and share grace.  We figure out our calling. 

Many children of God struggle to find out what their calling is.  They even go as far as thinking that they don’t really have any Spiritual gifts to share.  Scripture states, however, that it is not a matter of Christians not having Spiritual gifts.  It is a matter of differences in our gifts.  There are different kinds of gifts, all distributed by the will of God to each one of His beloved.  We see it clearly in Romans: 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-7)  The question is then, how do we find out which gift we have been dealt.   

Of course the Lord can supernaturally reveal our gifts to us in any way He would choose.  However, many times He chooses to reveal His will to us, and our calling, when we are caught up in the midst of active fellowship.  It is by staying in the fellowship of believers that our faith becomes actions, as so does our love.  It is in the fellowship of believers that we discover the leading Hand of God.  And His Hand almost certainly will lead us toward and not away from others.  His Hand leads us to our “we” context where we will figure out what He designed us to do.  We know this.  The more involved we are at church, the more phone calls to serve we receive.  The more we do, the more we are asked to do.  It is in the middle of these “doing” that we hear His voice guiding us to where He wants us.  He will call us according to the gifts He has given to us and in the measure that we use them for the furthering of His kingdom and the benefit of His children.  So it sure is true that we can really not do it without “you.” 

 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

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