Saturday, October 18, 2014

Equipped (Pt 1)

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts… A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other… It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. 1 Corinthians 12

Nimitz Class aircraft carriers are the largest in the world. They can carry up to one hundred thirty aircraft capable of supersonic flight. Six-thousand personnel are needed when it is fully operational. Ultimately, their cooperating function is the responsibility of its Commanding Officer. Imagine harmonizing such a multitude of different skill sets.

Yet, when the CO stands on the bridge he can immediately see if all personnel are carrying out their mission. How? Each crew member on deck wears a specific color that identifies his or her responsibility: as jets hit the deck at two hundred-plus miles per hour, he knows who should be there to get them stopped on an extremely short runway; he knows who is to stow away each aircraft in a particular place by particularly trained personnel; he knows munitions experts are to be loading and unloading ordinance; he knows refueling is complicated and dangerous, and not a job for everyone, and  he know there are those trained to respond in the event of an accident. There is more, but you get the picture. The point is, every person on deck has a specific job to do, and jobs they don't do. For instance: the Commanding Officer does not want purple suited personnel -- whose job is to refuel -- rushing to a flaming aircraft with aviation fuel. No, he wants those trained to do so -- emergency responders clad in red uniforms -- responding to such calamities.

It may be helpful for us to think of the Church in such a manner. First of all we are not on a cruise ship, but more like an aircraft carrier. Our gifts and abilities vary. God has a specific function within His purposes for each of us, and we depend on each other. We are not on the Good Ship Lolli-Pop where:

It's a sweet trip to a candy shop 
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay.

Lemonade stands everywhere.
Crackerjack bands fill the air.
And there you are

Happy landing on a chocolate bar.

No, by all Scriptural accounts we are in a spiritual war. Christ's Church functions counter-culturally and redemptively. On top of that, each of us constantly battles with our own fallen-ness. But, in this war every believer has been equipped with a particular spiritual gifting and calling by The Captain of our Salvation. With that gift we can support our fellow comrades and keep the Churches mission moving forward.    

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