Muscle cars, parking lots, and hot chicks! Yep. You’ve gotta love the seventies and eighties (or not)! Reminiscing, I thought: “Ron! Remember punching the accelerator on your car in a parking lot to hear all the ‘squeaking’ and smell burnt rubber? Remember how you thought the girls would be impressed?” My response to myself: “Well, of course!” And my answer to my reply? “Ron! You were an idiot! You wasted gas, used up perfectly good clutches and tires, and ended up dateless anyway!” Sigh . . . It’s true. But the situation made me think: “Do we do something similar in our Christianity: spin around in circles, pointlessly wasting resources?” The simple answer is YES!
First, let’s look at the God-given resources we often waste or keep to ourselves. These are meant to empower us to be effective partners in introducing people to His Kingdom, and they include spiritual skills, superpowers, and assignments:
Skills. In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul explains that the Spirit enables people to become Christian apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. You can also add helpers and administrators to the list (1 Corinthians 12:28). For what purpose? To equip others in the Body of Christ to be faithful, helpful, and complete.
Superpowers. Furthermore, the Spirit occasionally empowers us to do really cool stuff at a particular time and for a specific reason according to God’s desires. These ‘superpowers’ include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, spiritual discernment, and human and heavenly languages (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 & 28).
Assignments. We were made, and are equipped, for doing good works (Ephesians 2:10). We must honor God with all we are and have and be charitable (Matthew 22:34-40). And we must make the most of every moment by being righteous as He desires (Ephesians 5:13-21).
Second, spiritually doing donuts by not using our God-given resources and wasting what’s good and meant for others is genuinely robbing God! Sharing what He has given to build up His people is impossible, though, if we don’t hang out with them: “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together . . ..” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Stealing from God, forsaking others, and wasting God-given gifts and skills by ‘spinning spiritual wheels’ will have consequences! For instance, in the parable of the talents: “. . . . Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:14-30) And Jesus repeats this fate in Matthew 25:31-46.
In summary, God wishes to equip you for partnership in this age and the next. Don’t be wasteful or stingy! What’s next? Soon, I’ll take you on an exciting journey about our Supernatural God and a Return to Eden. But first, I’ll teach you what John Wesley understood about well-rounded faith-building that goes way beyond written words.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.