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We Don't Compare Ourselves to Elijah but Should

I've never heard someone say, "My spiritual office is apostle." Or, "My spiritual office is prophet." But I have heard people say that their gift set seems similar to Paul's, Elijah's, John's or Peter's. Most people, though, are hesitant to even say this. They're afraid of what will happen if they do.

We wonder if our fellow church members will think we're odd. I've had lots of people confide in me about this. They say things like:

 "If I tell them that God has called me to something like healing, they may ostracize me, or even kick me out of the church."

"When I thought about telling my pastor that God has called me to be a prophet, the first thing that crossed my mind was: 'He will tell me I'm crazy.' "

"How can you tell a church leader you're called like an apostle? They will think you are on a power trip."

"If I tell them I want to teach, they will say I'm too young."

These are legitimate concerns. And yes, some people are crazy. But these concerns say something about you and me--us church-goers. We make people feel isolated. We have convinced people that if they tell us that they're "called," we will make them feel even more alone. We need to make a change.

Paul tells us to think in terms of spiritual offices. Warning: After you read this passage, your view of the church may change. You may want to go and alter the entire structure of your church. Don't worry, it's a good idea.

"Now you are the body of Christ [the church] and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts [that's all these things:] of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts." (1 Corinthians 12:27-31, emphasis mine).

We usually skip over this passage on our way to "the love chapter." In doing so, we miss Paul's paradigm for the church.

People are called to spiritual offices: apostles, prophets, teachers and miracles. People have gifts: healing, helping, administrating and various kinds of tongues. I will discuss how we can define each of these offices and gifts in my upcoming posts.

Do you think the church needs spiritual offices? Are spiritual gifts part of the larger picture of spiritual offices? How would your church be different if people who were called to spiritual offices ran it? 

 

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The Infinite God is everywhere, are you looking? I am dedicated to finding God in all aspects of life – the Bible, the news, and the arts. Because I find that the most fulfilling journey of all is searching for heaven here on earth.