Good Morning Brothers…
We’ve had a couple of really cool days. Temps were in the 70’s for a high and the mornings were in the 50’s…boy did it feel like hunting season. Not much to hunt in July, however, the awareness of the wild places seemed heightened due to the falling temperatures. Many of us decided to shoot some arrows, hang our treestands, take an inventory of our decoys and other remedial tasks that take place every year before hunting season rolls around. I started to think about all of the preparation it takes before actually sending an arrow toward its intended target. If hunting is in your blood then the off-season is just the time of preparation.
In our language today we use this common metaphor, “the tip of the spear” to identify the person, or the organization, or a mechanism of intervention that arrives first. Typically, it means the first source of “newness” to impact an existing condition. We can use this metaphor to describe military operations, business ventures, drug therapy, counseling techniques, or even Church missions. I’m not entirely sure where the saying comes from, but I understand it. Even so…I believe we do not take the saying (or metaphor) to its logical conclusion. Case in point, an amphibious branch of the Marines lands on foreign soil to engage an enemy…we refer to them as “the tip of the spear”. They are the beginning of an advance into hostile territory. If the “tip” was severed from the rest of the spear, then there would me no advance…only a landing. In fact, if the “tip” was severed before it was launched, then it would not produce the required amount of momentum to actually land. In either case, it is essential that any “tip of the spear” is actually followed, and supported, by the rest of the spear.
In Church missions we think of the evangelist, or the missionary, as the “tip of the spear”. These men and women are typically the first to impact an existing culture with the good news of the Gospel. What we need to understand is that the “evangelist” isn’t just supported by the Church…but the Church comprises the whole spear. If we stop for a minute and think about “who” the Church is…it will make more sense. The Church is the “bride of Christ” and the “body of Christ” which means we are representing His wishes and His plan to the rest of the world. Just like our wives represent us and carry our name, we represent Christ and carry His name. To be “the body” is to be grafted into the whole life giving root system of a living breathing Christ centered organism whose only goal is to carry out the desires of its Master. Our Master, our Bridegroom, our Savior, our Lord called us with these words, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” and commissioned us with these words, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” which means…every parable Jesus told, every sermon He gave, every miracle He performed, and every lesson He taught was with this in mind…”Follow Me to Go therefore.”
Since the Church is made up of individuals called for Christ’s corporate purpose, it only makes sense that the Church is truly a collection of different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses. We are an eclectic mix of stuff. Some of us are strong evangelists and some of us are not, however, all of us are part of the spear. In Ephesians 4:7, Paul writes, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.“, and then Paul writes this in verse 11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers”. Paul is saying that every man, women, and child is born with a gift of grace. This begs the question of “Why” have we been given these gifts? The answer is in verses 12-16, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.“
In other words, we have been blessed with personalities an attributes that can be described with the terms:
These gifts are to be used to further the mission of “Follow Me to Go therefore”. The business of the Church is to build and launch spears. The spear is made up of all 5 gifts. The evangelist may be “the tip of the spear”…but the “tip” is propelled by the other 4 gifts. Next week we will break down the different gifts and analyze “How” they are all part of the spear. In the meantime, if you are wondering which gift God blessed you with, log on to fivefoldsurvey.com and answer the questions.