Posts Tagged ‘Elisha’

trustThe truth about trust is tricky. I mean, I have struggled with trust all my life. Sure, betrayal is a stumbling block to trust. But personal strength and intelligence can get in the way too. My mother taught me all the ways to combat trust: self-sufficiency, stick-to-it-tiveness, if you want it done right do it yourself, and so on. Trust requires a perpetual surrender.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; don’t rely on your own intelligence.” [Proverbs 3:5, CEB]

On Sunday, Pastor Jess Bousa, taught the message this way: to recognize the sovereignty of God, we must acknowledge God’s control of situations when things are “bad” and not just when things are going swell. After all, it’s easy to trust God when life is moving along sweetly and securely. It’s the tough times that call on the truth of our trust and faith in this One God.

One of his examples was II Kings 6:15 – 17, when Elisha’s servant feared the encampment of the vast army of the Arameans out to destroy the prophet. But Elisha could see what his servant could not, God’s army that encircled them all: the “second circle” that is God’s domain. This is the circle where trust is engaged. This is the circle where God operates, the bigger arena where our human strengths are worthless, where our intelligence can no longer figure things out, where our manipulations no longer have impact. Trust happens there.

Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes to see that second circle.

I pray the same. For me.

And yet, I must remember this, unless I go through the chaos and clatter of life’s challenges, I will never get to see God’s power in my life. It’s a paradox of faith. I surrender this day. I must. I will to do it.

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This is a partner verse to the previous message about training myself up to be Godly — also gift-based. Can’t train if I don’t know what I’m training to do and can’t nurture (opposite of neglect) my gifts if I don’t know what they are.

I Timothy 4:14
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

Back in the day, Timothy had a specific experience when a group of elders prayed over him and layed on hands (a practice mentioned in a variety of places in scripture – a focused prayer). That day, apparently, a gift was given. What did that look like? Did someone speak the gift and another verify it? Did the Holy Spirit fall upon Timothy in some kind of dramatic way like a “tongue of fire?” Did Timothy, himself, proclaim a revelation of the gift?

We’ll never really know. But what about me? Is there a gift for me?

Many people I know believe this was one of the spiritual gifts (like those listed in I Corinthians 12 or Romans 12). But if that is true, how does one neglect a gift of that kind? If I have the “gift of prophecy,” let’s say (the speaking forth of God’s message or in some cases, foretelling of future events), how would I nurture it? How would I neglect it? Is it just a matter of using it? But how do I “use” a gift? It’s not like I can wield a prophecy at will. If it’s a gift, then it’s pretty much up to the giver to decide when to pass it along. In this case, that would be the Holy Spirit.

There are some people who believe they can find out what their gifts are by taking an online assessment test either here or here or even here. It used to be that such assessments were the domain of fringe churches and primarily independent churches, but now, even the mainline denominations have gotten into the spiritual identification business.

I’m being a little catty and arch here because it has started to feel a little like a child at Christmas sitting under the tree and trying to figure out what’s in the brightly wrapped packages. I no longer believe the gifts are determined or discovered in this way.

I believe God gives gifts as they are needed. Period.

We can either choose to use that gift in the moment or not. If we don’t use it, then it is not in operation. That does not mean the gift is lost to me or that God won’t give that gift again tomorrow.

If the Holy Spirit wants to heal, then that gift is given and the same for all the others. It’s possible that a person may have a sensitivity to one gift over another, but again, I think it depends on the time, the place, the need, the desire, etc.

So, if what I am saying is true, how would Timothy neglect his gift? I think it’s the gift of the mystery of the Christ. That is the ultimate gift and we neglect that gift when we don’t spend time to connect with the Holy Spirit, to pray, to commune, to contemplate, and then to respond to that time with actions, like love, touch, talking, listening, giving, or anything else the Spirit prompts.

I suppose there can be a gift of a mantle of sorts, like the passing from Elijah to Elisha [II Kings 2:13-14] but again, how that gift is used by the individual may be different even though the mantle is passed. Something to think about for another day, I think.

But for today, I merely ask the Lord to show me the way of nurture, that I, too, would not neglect that God has given to me. Alleluia.

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