Mt. 25:15 π Mt. 25:41 π Mk. 10:42-43 π Jn. 10:10 π 1 Cor. 15:45-50 π 2 Cor. 11:4
The Lord has recently brought two life-pictures before me that point to various aspects of how we are to live and be in relations with one another. These modern parables point to other ways of doing things (other than the vain religious repetitions of the traditions of men to which most of us have been exposed) that might help us to better understand what the Lord is asking of us.
The first is the picture of a family business. In the particular picture that has come in front of me, five siblings are involved - two brothers and three sisters - and the father, an aging patriarch. Each of these are partners in the family-owned corporation yet each also has their own assets as well. This is the perfect picture of the dual nature of our life in Christ. We have each been given our own assets ("talents," - Mt. 25:15 , etc., that represent the new eternal life, the grace of God, the giftings God has given us, the abilities and characteristics inherent in our personality, etc.) that we are to steward (manage) according to His will for our life. (top)
In addition to these personal assets, though, the family jointly owns land and has a business that affects all of them. This is a picture of our role as ekklesia - our coming together corporately to make corporate decisions about everything that impacts all. That as the people of Christ we have very few real corporate decisions to make shows how isolated our lives have become. That we are also most often excluded from being able to make and implement the corporate decisions we ought to be making tells us how religious and deceived our state of being has become. And while we (especially in this time of lawlessness and confusion and re-learning all that we thought we already knew) cannot always include everyone from the real family of Christ who might be affected by the decision at hand, we certainly must make all reasonable efforts to find out what the genuine followers of Christ, whom we do know will be affected by this decision, believe the will of the Lord to be. And, in regards to corporate matters, we must simply wait until all involved are in unanimous agreement about what the will of the Lord is. Otherwise, someone is lording over and someone is being lorded over.
Those with spiritual ears will hear - all the rest will continue to build their own "church" and draw followers after themselves, their teachings and their practices. Only those with spiritual ears and eyes are able to attend to Christ's "family business." The rest - no matter what they claim for themselves - simply and only work and live for "the competition" and will, in the end (if not sooner), experience the moral and spiritual bankruptcy that attends the devil and the demonic. ( Mt. 25:41; top )
The second-life picture that came before me was a very unique and unorthodox wedding. The couple, having experienced as witnesses many atrocious weddings over the years, had one rule in determining what would and would not be included in the event - "no cheese." That is, there would be no dead rituals, no lifeless ceremonies, no hoaky or smarmy pretenses - if it wasn't real life, it would not be included in the ceremony. The second factor that made the wedding beautiful was that it was obviously and completely centered around the Lord Jesus Christ as the couple interwove their testimonies of His life-changing power with the importance of the people standing with them and how the Lord had brought them all together.
This was a medium-sized wedding with just over a hundred guests. There were three men and three women who were asked to stand with the bride and groom, there was an officially, legally recognized man to emcee the event and the parents of the bride walked the bride up to give her away to the groom. The event was staged outside in front of a dozen or so tables in the circular driveway of the emcee's home with shade provided by temporary awnings. The guests with children had been instructed to bring their children dressed to play as they would be outside. The simple but appropriate floral decorations had been arranged by a few of the guests just before everyone arrived.
Having seen weddings where the reception afterward became a rushed affair and knowing that people are more at ease after eating, the couple in this wedding chose to feed their guests first. Several ladies among the guests had been asked to bake already-prepared lasagna trays and bring them to the wedding shortly before the event and one lady was asked to oversee all the food preparation details. The man who was asked to be the "best man," the best friend of the groom, and several other men among the guests assisted in setting up the tables and chairs before hand. In short, it was a community event, set in motion by the desires and intentions of the bride and groom, but each person doing the task before them was encouraged to express themselves and do the task with their own personal style, touch and gifting.
The wedding went almost flawlessly. The only "glitches" (things that didn't go exactly as planned - of which the couple can only think of two) are so minor that they are barely even worth mentioning. One involved miscommunication (a guest who just wanted to serve began to help but had not been told some detail of the couple's intentions) and the other involved the lateness of the arrival of the bride's parents (which they'll probably be late to their own funeral - pray that they will be as they do not yet follow the Lord, which was probably also a contributing factor to their becoming one of the "glitches"!)
Overall, the couple had relied on the Lord to lead them in what directions to move this wedding event. After all, He had brought them together and they were relying on Him to direct all of their lives. They simply acknowledged the talents and giftings of the others around them, gave them a task that suited those talents and giftings, pointed them in the right direction and said, "Go and do. Enjoy!"
This is more a picture of the role of leadership in the corporate body of Christ than it is a picture of how Christ leads us individually. With Christ, there is the internal leading of the Spirit of Holiness, Love and Truth, there is the leading of the Scriptures (both Old and New Covenants have something to teach us) and there is the obedience to conscience and conviction, so the picture this wedding presents does not fit His intimate leading of us. But it is a near-perfect picture of how those who are in genuine leadership among the people of Christ are to lead because, in the body of Christ, there is to be no lording over whatsoever. ( Mk. 10:42-43; top ) The couple in the wedding did not even try to "micro-manage" each of the various tasks but trusted the Lord to work in each of those who were serving and helping. As a result, the fairly complex event overflowed with life, peace and laughter. Everyone was relaxed, peaceful and even touched with the joy of the event and the wedding was talked about and praised for some time by many who had attended.
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." ( Jn. 10:10; top ) He did not say, "I have come that they may have religion that kills both life and joy."
It is not enough to come with the right facts about Jesus. It is not enough to know the functions of how to become recipients of eternal life. It is possible to know these things and have a life-quenching spirit of deception or religiosity or even lawlessness (what is right in one's own eyes) and not have the life-giving spirit of the second Adam who came to bring us into the fullness of being the sons and daughters of the living Most High God. ( 2 Cor. 11:4 , 1 Cor. 15:45-50; top ) Knowing all the "right answers" and yet not bringing forth the life of Christ in others is only yet one more way we deceive our selves and open up our lives - and the lives of those we are trying to serve and help - to the very real influence and power of the demonic.
Let he who has ears hear.
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