“Do not neglect your gift…“
Have you ever driven past an old building and felt the kind of sadness which comes when you see within the broken down shell of what-used-to-be a glimmer of the beauty which once was?
Not far from where I grew up is ‘The Boneyard.’ Driving past it, I always got the same kind of sadness: engineering masterpieces, the marvel of aviation, splayed out in the open for all to see–some as evidence of compliance with a Cold War agreement promising materiel drawdown. Shells of planes were left out in the oven of the Arizona desert to bake away the last vestiges of their purpose.
Those planes were never intended to be lawn ornaments–they were meant to fly, to defy gravity and perform flawlessly in the impossible conditions of combat. But, there they sat–and sit still–lined row on row in a rather depressing state.
Sometimes it seems those of us in the Church too closely resemble the Air Force Boneyard in Tucson–we were designed to be vessels taking part in incredible adventure, acting as those empowered by God to step into the fray of a world trying desperately to destroy itself and offer the rescue of the One who made it. Meanwhile, so many of us sit, row on row, agreeably having our purpose baked away by the sun of religious contentment. Instead of trading wartime purpose for a demonstration of peace, we trade adventure and our true purpose for legalistic observance.
Followers of Jesus were never meant to just sit-and-bake on Sundays. At SLW, we have reminders all over the place that we are called to Live SENT; we are meant to experience a life of great adventure as we live out the purpose God has for us in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul gave some sage advice to his young protégé, Timothy, on what it looked like to serve Jesus in his context:
Do not neglect your gift…
He was talking about Timothy’s ministry gift made apparent when the elders of the church laid hands on him. We who follow Jesus were given a gift when the Holy Spirit filled us and laid His anointing upon us. Paul’s advice then rings true for us today: Don’t neglect your gift. This highlights a challenge for those of us who feel grounded in the boneyard: That which has fallen into disrepair must be brought back into the service of Jesus.
Bringing the gift back into the service of Jesus begins with asking God to give us eyes which see the opportunities each day to really live as Him, followed by choosing consistent obedience in what He reveals to us.