Friday, November 8, 2013

Giving away what we cannot keep

So we, though many,are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:5-8

Suddenly Paul gets very linear. The big Therefore, since God extends His mercy to all, is spelled out in short punchy sentences, sort of like my overwhelmingly long weekend to do list. Bullet point after bullet point of what this good and pleasing and perfect looks like in real life. 

I am one of those project-based teachers.  Which, I know, I know can be very messy and very aggravating and sometimes people don’t pull their full weight and one person sneaks the whole thing home one night and finishes it the way she wants it to look. Kind of like life.

But yesterday was pretty sweet.  It was the presentation of the first mini-assignment for The Odyssey groups. And the whole group stood up in front and delivered. And then they articulated the strengths and contributions of each member and what they learned about learning and what they were going to try and do better as they dug into the big main section.  And really and truly the product was bigger than the whole of the parts. And most important, over and over again the teams said that they became friends, they grew together, they become one of another. 

And Heather has been working with the small group leaders and working through the idea of “giving away the ministry"...meaning, how can we go out of our way to identify the spiritual gifts of our group members and find ways to create space so they can cultivate their giftings. Their giftings from the Spirit that we are all to put into practice, according to what we have been given, with generosity, with zeal, and with cheerfulness.

And it is so much easier to just do things myself. Or that is the lie that I tell myself as I put together these monster to do lists. But that is a lie that cripples the church, which is just what the Father of Lies wants. The mentality of I am the leader, you are the sheep forever and ever leads to a stagnant, selfish and weak body, living in disobedience. It is not about me, thinking more highly of myself than I ought and what I can get done, but about Him and what He can get done, through His gifts and through the members of His body. 

And it looks an awful lot like project-based learning. A to do list with a built-in rubric. And this is a corporate command; let us not store these gifts on some comfortable, out-of-the-way shelf, but unwrap them and put them to use for the building up of the body. With quantifiable generosity, with zeal, and with cheerfulness. Now.