Saturday, July 09, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Ezekial 22:29-30 - The Best Gift

The people of the land
practice extortion and commit robbery;
they oppress the poor and needy
and mistreat the alien, denying them justice.
I looked for a man among them who would
build up the wall and stand in the gap before me ... 
Ezekial 22:29-30
Do you know what the best spiritual gift is? Besides love (see 1 Corinthians 13), the greatest spiritual gift is a willing heart.
I have a friend who says his call -- to use the language of Ezekial 22 -- is "to stand in the gap."
If we lived in a sinless world and everyone one poured their best into the kingdom, there wouldn't be gaps. We'd have more applicants in the church ministries than we had jobs. We'd do more and more and more -- not for the sake of busyness, but because we couldn't hold our service in.
We live, however, in a busy, sinful, distracted world. Too many of us are busy, and because we're tired, we leave gaps in the wall. Too many of us are distracted, and because we're constantly focused on "the good," we don't focus on "the best." Therefore, there are again more gaps. Sin leaves even more gaps. We desire too many things other than the upbuilding of the kingdom.
The greatest gift in the kingdom is a willing heart. It is seeing the holes and plugging them.
We can do this as longsuffering martyrs, making sure everyone knows our sacrifice. Or we can ...
  • do everything for the glory of God -- 1 Cor 10:31.
  • do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him -- Col 3:17.
  • do everything for the sake of the Good News -- 1 Cor 9:23
  • do everything with love -- 1 Cor 16:14
  • do everything without grumbling and arguing -- Phil 2:14
  • do everything through Christ who strengthens me -- Phil 4:13
  • follow God's example in everything you do -- Eph 5:1
  • work at everything you do with all your heart. -- Col 3:23
  • be faithful in everything [you] do -- 1 Tim 3:11
  • and always do for other people everything you want them to do for you. -- Mt 7:12
Indeed, "do everything God has given you to do" (2 Tim 4:5).
Or in other words, stand in the gap. The greatest spiritual gift is not necessarily doing what's easy; it's doing what's needed for the building up of the kingdom.
How willing are you to just march forward and say, "God use me!!!"
In Christ's Love,
a guy who does a million thing
he never thought he would have
(and counts himself very blessed)
Indeed, we can be like Paul who said, "Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up, [because,] in everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God." (2 Cor 12:9, 2 Cor 6:4). And when we yield our hearts to God, "God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us" (Paul again in Eph 3:20).
Over the years, I've witnessed too many people using spiritual gifts as an excuse to not serve. "Oh, I can't do that, it's not my gift." Moses tried this with God. "Oh, I can't do that. I can't speak to Pharoah. After all, I have a speech impediment."

The biggest impediment to my going forward is simply fear. Sadly, I all too often let fear control my actions (or lack of actions.)

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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