It was Gary Thomas in his book Sacred Pathways who woke something up in me to recognize that, though we are all called to know the One true God who is fully revealed in Jesus, we are not all the the same in how we relate to God. This can come off sounding almost heretical at first, but I don’t think it is. I believe God has wired us differently from one another. Some of us connect most deeply with God in nature while others would much rather stay indoors. Some of us connect best with God in silence while others feel their deepest connection in activism or through art. This is far different from the lie that “all religions lead to the same God;” it is a recognition that God has given each of us a different voice which we can use to add to the great song. This idea freed me from the idea that we as Christians all need to relate to God in the same way - that there is only one cookie-cutter prescription for a devoted life to God that looks like getting up early to have extended “quiet time” in the Bible. Instead, I need to listen to the voice of God (through Scripture and the Holy Spirit) and relate to God in the skin He gave me.
The Bible calls the church “the body of Christ,” and as we follow Jesus, who is our head, we all offer something different. Some of us are natural connectors while others are protectors. Some of us are creatives while others are care-givers. And some of us are pioneers, breaking into new territory yet undiscovered. In some sense, we’re all called to do all of these things, but it’s good news to embrace that we’ll all come at it differently. It’s what makes us a body and not just a bunch of arms.
This kind of thinking raises the bar for discipleship teaching us that it’s not the job of a few to feed the whole, rather that God has called you, and me, and all of us into ministry for His Church and His people around the world. The good news is that when Jesus ascended into heaven He didn’t leave us empty handed. He gave us His Spirit and placed good gifts in our hands to serve the world together in unity where we are. Each one of us plays an important role in helping the body grow and develop. We each must use what we have been to serve. And as we do that, the kingdom breaks through, and the collective health of the body among us rises!
I am really looking forward to this next series called “WE, the CHURCH” and how God might reveal to you what good gifts he has placed in your hand. It is my prayer that we would begin to hear where He is calling all of us to use those gifts and encourage others’ gifts. I think that as we give God greater freedom to do this, we’ll see His Kingdom break out!