I used to work on cars. My cars. I would do such things as change oil, plugs and points, wires, antifreeze; simple things like that. I have also changed a transmission, rear leaf springs, u-joints, drive shafts, front struts, brakes, hoses, heater cores, and such.
Besides learning I didn’t want to be a mechanic for hire, I learned:
a) I didn’t know everything about automobiles, though I did know quite a bit
b) I didn’t have all the necessary tools to work on everything
c) I would be better off if I asked someone who had the knowledge and proper
tools to do the job, even if it cost more money.
I remember changing the struts on my 1978 Plymouth Horizon. I didn’t have the money to pay someone to do the work, so I purchased the parts, rented a couple of spring compressors, and began the task of changing them in the carport of our apartment. I had a service manual to use, but even with the manual I was pretty much at a loss. I finally finished the job, with no parts left over, but I had wasted so much time. Then, a short while later I mentioned to a mechanic friend what I had done. He told me that was one of the stupidest and dangerous things I could have attempted. “Trained mechanics with the proper tools and training have been seriously injured while compressing the strut springs”, he said.
…things (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession.
…the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association; acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.
Using the correct tool, and using it correctly, isn’t only important for mechanics. Knowledge of a tool, familiarization and proficiency gained through experience using a tool, is extremely important to God’s work, as well.
How many mechanics possess all knowledge and ability for each and every problem? Even the most experienced mechanic can get stumped at times. There are situations that demand the mechanic bring in someone who may specialize in a certain area. Someone with the tools and experience to assess the situation and fix the problem.
So it is in the Body of Christ, the Church.
I remember thinking, as a young pastor who loved to preach and teach, God has given me as a gift to my congregation. He has equipped me to teach and train the saints, win the lost, impart anointing, heal the sick, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.
I had guest speakers from time to time, but mainly to give myself a break, or stir up some excitement by bringing in a bigger named preacher than I. Of course, it was important to advertise, so any non-attached saints could find another church to try out.
Just recently, maybe the last 10 years or so, did I realize that all the gifts, tools, special anointings God has placed in the Body of Christ are needed for the complete maturation of the saints. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
There are a few instances from the Book of Acts I would like to share with you, in dealing with this subject.
1) In Acts 8, Phillip had traveled to the city of Samaria, preaching Jesus. What a powerful outpouring of God’s Spirit! Many people were saved, healed and delivered as a new church was planted. But when the apostles in Jerusalem heard about the outpouring, they sent Peter and John to them. Why? Not to sign papers of incorporation, but to pray and lay hands on the saints to be filled with the Spirit of God! Anyone can lay hands on another person, but God has anointed and gifted certain ones in the Body with certain “tools of the trade.” And because of the “special mechanic’s ministry”, people were filled with the Spirit and God’s word multiplied!
2) Acts 9 is another example of a “specialist’s” ministry. Dorcas had died, but the saints heard Peter was staying over in a town close by. So they called for him, asking him to come and raise the woman from the dead! Again, the pastor, deacon, women’s ministries president; these all could have prayed and believed God (and probably did). But they recognized God had equipped some with certain things, like the gift of faith, that should be utilized and not ignored.
3) Barnabas was sent by the Jerusalem church to assist with the foundational work in establishing the church in Antioch. Again, there were others in Jerusalem who could have used some of their vacation time for a short term missionary assignment. But Barnabas was anointed and equipped to minister to that group at that time.
4) Acts 21 tells of Phillip again, only by this time he had 4 daughters who prophesied. Paul and his minister friends stopped off to visit with Phillip for awhile. During their visit, The Lord sent Agabus, the prophet, to minister specifically to Paul. Why didn’t The Lord use the tools already in the house? Because He needed a specific tool for a specific task.
Years ago, it was common for pastors to schedule “special” meetings. Several meetings, even meetings that lasted for weeks, would be scheduled each year. The Lord would speak to the pastor about the need for a special work to be done in the church, so the pastor would follow His leading and “call” someone with the experience and the tools to meet the need. God would set up the opportunity to further equip His people.
Yes, the economy has changed and it’s harder to pay the bills.
Yes, with only one service a week, there isn’t the opportunity to have “specialists” come in.
Yes, the congregation needs to hear the lead pastor.
Yes, people aren’t interested in extended meetings any longer.
Yes, people are too busy, or too distracted, or…
Yes, yes, yes.
But maybe the issue with our people isn’t just their business. Maybe we, as leaders, have given in to the pressure of our society. Maybe we don’t really believe our congregation wants to grow in the Lord. Maybe we expect God to work His miracles, train the saints, win the lost, heal the sick, and call people into ministry using the schedule and format we give Him. Maybe we don’t trust our people to give to another’s ministry, or we’re jealous when they do?
I really believe the church is fast approaching its finest, yet most difficult hour. It’s imperative we keep an open ear to God’s heart and His word. The church of Jesus Christ needs all the gifts, anointings, and impartations the Lord has planned and prepared for it. Without them…
…it’s like trying to change struts in a carport.