IN THE DESERT
My brother, retired military, commented that the enemy currently terrorizing its way through “deserts east” is benefiting at the moment from abandoned allied trucks and tanks and other battle gear. However, he says, unless its leadership assigns personnel on a ratio of about 12 to 1 to support those at the wheel, so to speak, to requisition, transport, maintain and repair all those high-tech sand-stressed working parts, the desert may soon be littered with useless junk.
With regard to the enemy in question, which advertises extensive travel plans, you might say martyrdom over maintenance does not a very successful—or long-term—campaign strategy make. (Which is, of course, a good thing for the rest of us.) It takes a lot of power behind the scenes to effectively power the front lines, whether it’s the “good guys” or the “bad”…
IN THE SPIRIT
This has me thinking about “support staff” of an entirely different nature needed for an entirely different “campaign,” if you will, this one, spiritual.
Just as the Body Military needs troops on the front lines and everywhere else (as in “They also serve who sit and type”—and order and ship and cook and repair) the Body of Christ needs members in spiritual support positions. Only every position in this Body, top down, is support!
Here is a list of “(Spiritual) Occupational Specialties” from 1 Corinthians 12:4-31 (NASB), their nature, and purpose:
Concerning Spiritual Gifts
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way… (and on to the most potent gift and calling of all: love).
I feature this passage and message today because I fear that due to the way numerous churches are organized at present, many congregants might mistakenly assume that the lion’s share of power resides in the pulpit, little, in the pew.
The Scripture above, however, details it very differently. And in these days of intensifying battles—literal and spiritual—we need to remember this.
According to God’s plan, each member of the “spiritual troop” is needed to engage in the specific gifts and ministries to which we are uniquely called by our spiritual Commander-in-Chief. And, as noted above, He is concerned that “(we) should have equal concern for each other.” Thus, the need for fellowship—and “lateral support” for all.
Not necessarily, however, the fellowship of man-made, admin-heavy, more business-model driven than Holy Spirit led fellowships, or emotion-driven hype-fests.
Not to say that good organization and openness to Godly emotions are not appropriate.
But discernment is in order.
Indeed, these days it seems increasingly hard to find a body of believers adhering to classic Biblical truths and teachings outside of a small group here, a remnant, there.
But even so, we have these words of comfort, encouragement—and support—from Christ, Himself: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20).
Carry on, troops.