Aloha Friday Message – January 22, 2016 – Don’t Keep the Faith

1604AFC012216 – Do no keep the faith

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Psalm 37:23-2523 Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
    when he delights in our way;
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
    for the Lord holds us by the hand.

Isaiah 20:31 21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

E pili mau na pomaika‘i ia ‘oe a me ke akua ho’omaika’i ‘oe, ʻŌmea! It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Give thanks to the Lord for he is GOOD!!

Last week we focused on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) and the Fruit they produce (Galatians 5:16-23). Today we move down the page a few verses in 1 Corinthians 12 to find out more about how the Apostle Paul taught the early Church about using those Gifts to produce that Fruit. This is in 1 Corinthians 12:12-30. I’m not going to insert that entire passage here, but I do want to ask you to read it by following the link, and then consider what it means for us today. Go ahead and click the link. I’ll wait right here.

Paul is describing the Body of Christ – the Church of which Christ is the Head. A somewhat similar way to describe the Church is as the Bride of Christ (See Revelation 21:2, 9-10 and John 3:29). The image presented is that while each of us is a living body, an individual human being, and although it is but a single body, it has many parts. “We are many parts. We are all one body.” By Marty Haugen expresses this well. Here’s a nice rendition of that for you to listen to. (← Music link!)

Now Paul makes one of his “don’t be so silly” arguments to convince the Church in Corinth (and by extension to convince us as well) that since everyone has one or more Gifts of the Spirit, we are given those gifts to be used in the Body of Christ. In fact, the Body of Christ depends on all of the parts doing what they are supposed to do. For those of you who have been following these for a while, or who get emails from me from time to time, you are familiar with my personal motto Age Quod Agis. If you were reading this in a high school or college Latin class you would pronounce it AH-gay kwod AH-giss (both hard g’s like giggle). If you were using “liturgical Latin,” you would pronounce it AH-jay kwod AH-jiss (both soft g’s like Georgia). I like the second version better. In Latin it means “Do what you are doing.” For those of you who use self-affirmation techniques, that translates to “Be who you are.” When it comes to being a Christian, some of us seem to have difficulty with that. We end up saying, “What am I doing?” Perhaps we ask “What am I supposed to do?” Or again we might ask, “What am I? Who am I? Why am I?” in many a Sunday school class we have been taught to answer, “I am a child of God.” If you are a baptized, believing Christian who claims Christ as a personal Savior, you are indeed a Child of God (See John 1:12-13). But as a baptized, believing Christian who claims Christ as a personal Savior, you are also part of The Body of Christ. You are!

If I am, you are, we are The Body of Christ, if we have many gifts which are part of The Body of Christ, then it is silly not be behave as The Body of Christ. You are a part. BE that part! In 1 Corinthians 12:18, you read (or should have read): But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. You are supposed to be there, and God put you there intentionally for a reason. You are there to help The Body of Christ function properly. Do you remember this? – “What’s missing from Ch__ch?” Yeah! UR! “But I go every Sunday.” OK, good, you go every Sunday, but are you there every Sunday? Or are you a door-post Christian, someone who just stands or sits in church with as much animation as a door-post? You have a GIFT to share! The Body of Christ needs that gift! Don’t keep it. SHARE IT! Don’t hide it under a bushel-basket. (Matthew 5:15, Mark 4:21, Luke 11:33) Paul is delivering the same advice when he tells the Church in Corinth (and of course us as well) when he says we should not withhold our Gifts for any reason, but especially because we are ashamed to share it or because we believe The Body of Christ does not need it. Of course your gift is needed. Why else would you have it? Here’s where so many of us get stuck. We won’t admit to anyone, including ourselves, that we have a gift to share. We get so hung up about not knowing what we have that we don’t even look.

Where do we look to see what sort of gift we have? Well, if actions speak louder than words, what actions show us that we are gifted? What are the things we like to do and the things we can do well? Those are our gifts. Let’s take a really easy but very important Gift that everyone reading this must surely have: Faith. Do you have faith, even “just a little, maybe?” Do not keep it to yourself. Share it! How? Be The Body of Christ? How? Age Quod Agis – do what you do – in The Body of Christ. Now, can you do that and go fishing or blowing or watch sports every Sunday instead of going to Church? Of course not. At a very minimum, to be part of The Body of Christ, you have to show up (85% of every gig is just being there for the gig). And then you need to share your gift. Paul says if you’re a foot, don’t try to be (or prefer to be) a hand; if you’re an ear, don’t try to be (or prefer to be) an eye; if you are an ear, don’t try to be (or prefer to be) a nose. Be who and what you are and, in all things, do it for the Glory of God in Christ Jesus. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17)

Go back to last week’s post and look at that list of Gifts again. Now, look at Paul’s statements about using them:

1 Corinthians 12:27-30 – 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. That is how Paul introduces 1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter.

Belovéd, don’t keep your Faith hidden under a bushel. No! Let your little light shine. Share your Faith, and all your other gifts. In the post for July 20, 2012, there was this: Romans 12:6aSince we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly. Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.” Whatever you have, whatever you do, when you share it or do it for our brothers and sisters in The Body of Christ, you are doing what God created you to do. Remember, God gave you those Gifts to use not to hide or hoard. All that you have, all that you are, all that you can be is a Gift from God and is give to you for use – not possession – in The Body of Christ. Matthew 25:40 40 “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'”
Again I say, “Don’t ‘keep’ the Faith. Share it.” Why? Give a listen to this:

FollowMeYou are mine by David Haas (← Music link!) The Lord is holding you by the hand so you will not stumble when you go to share your Gift in The Body of Christ. He is walking with you and you will hear him say, “This is the way. Walk in it.” He will tell you whether to turn to the right or to the left. You and I belong to him. He has made us Stewards of every Good Gift needed in The Body of Christ. Remember: A Steward takes proper care of what belongs to another; our Gifts – our participation in The Body of Christ – belongs to The Body of Christ. He is mine because I am his. I cannot imagine that anything could possibly be better than that! Because of that, I can know the More Excellent Way of Love. Jeremiah 31:3I have loved you with an everlasting love (← Music link!)

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved!

Please continue to pray for ECP and also KW who are both healing gradually after serious falls. In addition, please remember DM who got a late diagnosis of Stage 4 Breast Cancer – and also all our family, friends and neighbors with or recovering from cancer – we are asking for a miraculous remission and healing.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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