All Flowing Together
Christopher B. Harbin
Num. 11:24-30; Psalm 104; John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:3b-13
We like to make distinctions among people. We look at their roles, their stations, their careers, and make estimates on aspects of their worthy by such categories. We don't mean to, necessarily, but at some level or other, we attribute different weight of importance to people based on such matters as race, language, education, wealth, gender, intelligence, doctrine, clothing, morality, vehicles, and housing. Depending on where we fit in these equations, we tweak the results to set our own worth ahead of others. The gospel sets a different standard, in which self is not as important as the community. Can we live in such a way that places the body of Christ grows beyond selfish concerns?
As missionaries, we had one major task set before us. We were to work ourselves out of a job. The task was to equip others to take over what we were doing, in order that we could move on elsewhere or to something else. In theory, pastoring should not be so different. In practice, it is simpler to retain an established structure with its artificial distinctions between clergy and laity. Sure, seminary offers specialized training. Public speaking is not for everyone. It is easier to pay someone to accomplish certain functions than for the larger congregation to fill them. At heart, however, there should be no distinction. We are all called to participate actively in the leading of God's Spirit.
This was an issue that faced Moses early on. A select number of leaders among the people in the wilderness were visited by God's spirit. They were empowered by the breath of God to be mouthpieces for Yahweh. Everyone was not comfortable with this. They liked having an hierarchical structure. It lent stability to their lives. It kept people in pre-determined places. It defined who was who and differing importance to individuals. Moses looked on things a little differe ...
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