Getting Personal: Out-of-Body Experience



Getting Personal: Out-of-Body Experience

At the Voorhees campus, lead pastor Jeff Bills wrapped up the Getting Personal series, which has looked at 1Cor 12:12-21, a portion in one of the Apostle Paul’s letters that addresses how the survival of the early church depended on the different “parts” of the body, that is, its members, working together to create unity. In it, Paul explains that through the Spirit, God had equipped each Christ follower with a “gift,” that, when opened, enables the follower to serve others and advance the kingdom of God. And without the diversity that God brought to all creation, not just humans, the body would not be able to function properly.

Pastor Jeff used a story Jesus told to illustrate how each of us are trusted with an “assignment” from God based on our abilities. I know this story well because it was one that the Christian arts group I joined my freshman year of college acted out when we performed. I can still hear my friend George, who often served as a narrator, beginning the skit by citing its source, “Matthew 25: verses 14-30, the Parable of the Talents,” as Darth Vader’s theme was cued up.

The gist of the story is that “the master” is about go off on a long trip and calls together three of his most-valued employees. He gives each of them differing amounts of money (talents) with the instructions to use it wisely. And he departs. After an undisclosed amount of time, the master comes back and brings each of the servants in to find out what he had done. In our skit, the first two servants tell about how crops weren’t always successful and flocks weren’t always cooperative, but, all in all, both had more money to turn over to the master than what they had to begin with. Consequently, the master is quite pleased and says they have great rewards coming to them.

The third servant hems and haws and says, “Well, knowing what a tough boss you are and not wanting to suffer a loss, I just took that one talent and buried it for safekeeping.” As the Darth Vader music starts to play again, even those in the audience who were not familiar with this parable got the idea that the master is not going to be too happy with this last servant. And, in fact, he informs him that his lack of effort has doomed him to eternal punishment.

Eternal punishment may sound a bit harsh for this servant who just played it safe. But in going back to the idea of us making up the body of the church, maybe it is justified. Think about when you get sick. How hard does it become to function properly if you aren’t feeling 100% or at full strength?. So it is with the body of the church when each of the parts isn’t doing its job as well as possible.

If you don’t know what your spiritual gifts are, it’s never too late to find out. Just ask a bunch of young adults who were so positively impacted by a grumpy old man who took a chance and got involved in a type of service that seemed totally out of his orbit. After all, when you reach the Pearly Gates, do you really want to hear Darth Vader’s theme in the background? 

- Lauree Padgett



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