Saturday, July 2, 2011
Kingdom-Bearing, Gifts, and Fruits
"Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'"
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4-8
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
During a Bible study, I was struck by the idea presented to me that we, as servants of God sent by Him, carried the kingdom with us where we went whether the people that we took it to accepted the message or not. We were asked to reflect on what it meant to us that we took the kingdom of God with us wherever we went. I thought about it, and in the midst of thinking about that and being encouraged by it I was also overwhelmed by a sense of it as a colossal responsibility, and I had to remind myself that I am far from the only kingdom-bearer.
As we have all been given different gifts of the Spirit and different personalities and abilities, I guess we also each bear different pieces and aspects and ways of manifesting that Kingdom. I am sure that God does not expect us to each witness and serve in the same way; He would not have created us each different if that were the case. I have been thinking a lot about who He has made me to be and how some of the very things that I think of as weaknesses--or that I sometimes wish were more like the way they are for someone else--are things that actually enable me to do things that I would otherwise be unable to do.
As I try to serve God, I can be very impatient about the idea of seeing some sort of results--mostly because I want to be sure that I am really doing something. This is something that He has been asking me to be more trusting about, and to be content even if I never *see* the results that I might wish to. To trust Him that if I am attempting to serve Him and am growing, He will work through me, whether I see what He is doing or not--and, if I doubt His ability to work through me even if I am willing and wishing and praying for Him to do so, that is not humility, that is doubting Him!! That would be, as it were, putting more trust in my ability to screw things up than in His ability to fix them!