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Good Morning Brothers…

I have a little Ford Ranger with a covered bed. I don’t look under that cover very often. I don’t use the truck to access treestand locations or haul 10 point bucks out of the woods. I have a different truck for those activities. The Ranger is only used to drive back and forth to work and run around town doing errands. The other day I dropped the tailgate and placed two 5 gallon fuel containers in the bed that were empty. Looking past the fuel containers I was astonished at the collection of stuff under the cover. I rolled back the cover to get a better look and discovered:

  •  a dozen goose decoys
  • an 8″x12″ block of wood
  • a spare tire
  • 1 hockey glove (not a pair, but 1)
  • a framing hammer
  • two pair of socks (dirty, not clean)
  • 3 empty gatorade bottles
  • a piece of 1/2″ rebar
  • a small roll of 18 gauge wire
  • 1 sheet of 80 grit sandpaper
  • a ratchet strap
  • 1 old blue sweatshirt
  • and a turkey decoy I borrowed 6 months ago

What does this collection of stuff say about my life? What does it say about me? Does it mean anything?  (I know one thing it means…it means I really need to get that turkey decoy back to its rightful owner.)

Although there is a bunch of stuff, the list is not terribly eclectic. If the list included a prom dress, candle wax, and some spools of different colored yarn…that would be eclectic. I am identifiable by the contents. The decoys are dead give-away; I am indeed a hunter. The ratchet strap, block of wood, framing hammer, 18 gauge wire and sandpaper seem to suggest builder: indeed, I am a builder. The rest of the list just seems to suggest…busy. In fact, to busy to take in my dirty socks or reunite the one hockey glove with its mate. When I think about all of the contents together I can see…me. What is interesting is that I didn’t even know half of that stuff was there…because it was covered. Our lives often times act as a cover to the spiritual gifts that God has given us.

1 Corinthians 12:8-11 says, “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”

This short passage contains quite a list of gifts:

  • word of wisdom
  • word of knowledge
  • faith
  • healing
  • miracles
  • prophecy
  • discernment
  • tongues
  • interpreting tongues

This list may seem eclectic because of our familiarity with a few and our unfamiliarity with the others, however, the text says, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”  This means the list isn’t eclectic at all because the Holy Spirit works and distributes all of these things, or gifts. These gifts all witness to, and witness about Jesus Christ.

Paul precedes this list with this passage from 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  

In short, these gifts are given to us by the Triune God…for the common good. OK…for the common good of what?  Well…the common good of mankind.  Which means, the gifts we have of wisdom or knowledge, discernment or prophecy (speaking truth), should be used to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We may be using the gifts to make money, to further our career, to make our point, to impress others, or a whole host of other things. Even after we understand that…we need to be careful how we implement our gifts in service of our King. What I mean is this, when Isaiah saw the vision of the Lord’s Glory he was undone (Isaiah 6). He knew he was unworthy to stand before the Lord. The text says in Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

He didn’t say, “Lord, I have the gift of prophecy and the word of wisdom and knowledge. I think I would be well suited to carry Your message. In fact, I know they will listen to me because of my reputation.”

Once we realize that our culture works to cover and twist our gifts to serve it…instead of God. We realize that we are undone, that we are wretched, and that we have sinned against the Most High. After the covering is stripped back in repentance, and we decide to sign up in the Lord’s army…our culture works really hard to convince us to bring our contents into the Lord’s command tent. Here’s the thing…our contents are gifts of the Spirit, and can be taken back as He wills. We must come…undone…in the absence of contents…and sign up like Isaiah. We must never dictate to the God of angel armies…where our services are needed. He orchestrates the battlefield and places us where He wants us. That is why Christ is the head of the body and we are knees, toes, and elbows.

“Here I am Lord…send me.”

 

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