From my 2013 Journal.
For 11 days I sat by Scott’s bedside at St. Thomas Hospital while he recovered from knee surgery. I watched a team of workers ministering to the patients. In one shift, a doctor, a PA, a nurse, a tech, a food deliverer, a cook, a housekeeper, a student nurse, a supervisor, and a case worker all contributed to the healing process. Only the surgeon or only the cook wouldn’t have been sufficient. Pain med management was no more important than the one who emptied the urinal. It was a well-oiled machine where everyone had to do his or her part, what he or she was skilled and trained for.
Somewhere I was taught that in God’s kingdom we should all exercise all the spiritual gifts (teaching, helps, hospitality), even if they aren’t my gifting or calling. I cut my baby teeth on “Bringing in the Sheaves” and the primacy of evangelism, but It has been a very long time since I’ve shared my faith openly with a nonbeliever. I have made a gradual yet complete shift away from evangelism to discipleship, from making converts to helping to heal the body of Christ. It has become my calling, and it’s intentional. But is it okay?
The housekeeper should never attempt surgery, and it would be a waste of his training if the surgeon gave up his job to do janitorial work. Acts 6 records the scenario where the apostles maintain their calling and giftedness—prayer and ministry of the Word. But the ones responsible for distribution of the widows’ food are no less godly or gifted. In fact, they’re specially chosen and commissioned by laying on of hands. It wasn’t the gift or the type of work that qualified them, but their character. We tend to put huge accolades on the public speaker, but every team member behind the scenes has a spotlight on him too.
What’s my point? I would never be able to stand in front of 50,000 people like Angus Buchan and proclaim the Gospel unless God called and equipped me for it. I have become more and more convinced that life is about celebrating our various roles in the kingdom . . . though I guess I’d like the fun sometime of reeling in the fish, not just putting worms on the hook.
The issue I’m wrestling with is the bold declaration in public that Jesus is the Christ. What inside me makes me shrink? I could speak to a believing crowd because we’re on the same side of the fence . . . teammates.
And there’s my visual. At first, I saw a tug-o-war, digging in my heels in total opposition to the other side. Instead, God showed me “Red Rover.” Evangelism is an invitation to join our side. My spirit relaxes with that.
So . . . I can tell someone on the opposing team, “Drop what you’re doing. Let go of the hand next to you. Come test our side. Experience the strength of the God side. Come join forces with us.” Our team breaks apart where there’s sin and idolatry and strongholds, and the enemy captures one of our members. But our team will prevail. Our God is stronger than your gods!