Reflections on spiritual themes (and a few other things).

Tag: Church

Many or Few

Some of the greatest Bible stories are war stories. One of my favorites is found in 1 Samuel 13-14, when the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. 

In chapter 13, the Israelites were initially successful against the Philistines (v. 2-4). But when the Philistines summoned a massive army, the Israelites were intimidated, and Saul became indecisive (v. 5-7). The situation was further aggravated by a lack of weaponry among the Israelites (v. 19-23). 

Enter Jonathan. 

Jonathan was already responsible for the earlier victory against the Philistines (13.2-4). Here in chapter 14, he again takes initiative by taking his armor-bearer with him and sneaking into the nearby Philistine outpost (v. 1-10). The Philistines assume they’re a pair of Israelite POWs and bring them into their garrison (v. 11-12). Jonathan and his armor-bearer kill 20 Philistines in hand-to-hand combat (v. 13-14). The Lord also brought a sudden earthquake (v. 15-16) which caused some of the Philistines to flee. Saul and the remaining Israelite forces soon join the fray, and the Israelites defeat the Philistines that day (v 23).

My favorite verse in this text is 1 Samuel 14.6, “Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, ‘Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.’”

This was Jonathan’s confession of faith in the LORD. He understood something about God that’s too easily forgotten. He knew that God is always the majority. Period. God doesn’t need numbers, or large armies, or massive military hardware to win his battles. He only wants a few dedicated people. 

Today, God doesn’t need large churches, or large budgets, or PowerPoint, or websites, or social media, or apps, or impressive programs to win the cause of his kingdom. He simply wants a few dedicated people. If he chooses to use large things, that’s his business. But the Lord frequently uses small things to remind us of his wisdom, power, and ways (1 Corinthians 1.26-29).

Indeed, “The Lord is not restrained to save by many or by few.” What matters for us is that we enter the fray.

Will you?

Vestigial Organs & the Body of Christ

Do you have a function in the body of Christ? 

The short answer is yes. The apostle Paul said, “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12.12, NASB).

Christ’s church is described as a body about seventeen times in the NT. This metaphor emphasizes that each member of Christ’s body (each Christian) has a function to perform, just like the parts of the human body. 

To put it another way, there’s no such thing as a vestigial organ in the body of Christ. Do you remember “vestigial organs” from high school biology? A vestigial organ is a body part that has no apparent function. It includes things like the appendix, body hair, or the tail bone. It can also include bodily reflexes like goose bumps and hiccups. 

That won’t work in the body of Christ. Earlier I read from 1 Corinthians 12. Twice in that chapter, and again in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4, Paul gives lists of spiritual gifts or spiritual abilities. Those gifts are for the good of the body, and each person must use the gifts they have to help the body. 

How do you know your function in the body of Christ? What gifts or abilities do you have? There are several ways to answer that. One easy way is to start with the needs that you see around you, especially in the local church. What needs to be done? 

One answer comes in the form of a prayer I found several years ago written by T. L. and LaDonna Osborn in their book, New Miracle Life Now. It reads:

When there is a need for teaching, TEACH through me.
When there is need for truth, SPEAK through me.
When there is a need for love, LOVE through me.
When there is a need for music, SING through me.
When there is a need for understanding, LISTEN through me.
When there is need for guidance, ADVISE through me.
When a gift is needed, GIVE through me.
When a helping hand is needed, REACH and TOUCH through me.
In Jesus’ Name I pray this prayer, AMEN!

Remember, you have a place and a function in the body of Christ. So, find something that needs doing in the body of Christ, and do it! Don’t be a vestigial organ!