by Terry Camsey, Major –
Funny how some things just stick in your mind and you can’t shake them off. Try as I might, I just can’t get away from a chorus my dad used to sing when I was a child. It went as follows:
“Can others see Jesus in me?
Can others see Jesus in me?
For how can the lost know of Jesus,
If they cannot see Jesus in me?”
I guess that while we hope they will see something of Jesus in each of us, the reality is that they will never see the whole of Jesus in us as individuals, since we are not perfect as he is perfect.
One of the most interesting things I ever learned about spiritual gifts was from comments made by John McArthur, Jr. He suggested that:
“Every one of the (spiritual) gifts was a characteristic of Jesus Christ. When Christ left this world he formed a new body—the church. This (church) body is to manifest his nature in the same way his fleshly body did. So, naturally, his spiritual body will have the same attributes of his fleshly body. That is what the spiritual gifts are—the reproduction of the attributes of Christ into his Body—the church.”
This supports the suggestion I made in the previous paragraph. Since no individual is perfect as Christ is perfect, it takes a whole saved congregation functioning in the area of their spiritual giftedness to even start to represent the whole Christ to its community. And that, in turn suggests, that in congregations where perhaps less than half know and are using their spiritual gifts in service, the “Christ” presented to the public is a paraplegic apology of a Christ…where (picture it) one half of the body drags along the other half.
This is, surely, hardly a fulfillment of Ephesians 4:11-16 where Paul explains to the “holy people in (the church at) Ephesus” (NLT) that the goal of gifts usage is to build up the church, the body of Christ until it becomes “mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.” …with each part doing its own special work, helping the other parts to grow…”so that the whole body is healthy and growing…”
So challenge number one is for every congregation to get the gifts “on the table” to see where they fit together to make the picture of ministry that the Holy Spirit distributed them for. Wouldn’t that make a great New Year’s resolution! But consider also this…
The church is the Bride of Christ. There are many ways a human bride can please her husband. One of the greatest ways is for her to present him with children. Should not this be as true in the spiritual realm as in the physical? Children, the psalmist tells us, are a “gift from the Lord…like sharp arrows in a warrior’s hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3-5, NLT)
That ought to capture the attention of “Salvationist warriors.” Shouldn’t we, too, long for a quiver of sharp arrows with which to continue to carry the fight to the might of Satan’s army?
We can have one (a whole stuffed quiver!)…if we have children who have children, who have children. If we—the Bride of Christ (the church)—please our groom (Christ) by giving birth to a whole quiver full of baby churches (new corps, outposts or ministries). Spiritual “children” who, like human children, will be able to relate to their own generation through a relevant, incarnational ministry…carrying the family name and mission forward…until that glorious day when the whole family is reunited.
This Christmas, why not as Brides of Christ have a little “nativity” of your own and give the Groom a gift or two that will really please him?
Or, maybe you just can’t conceive such a possibility!