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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Healing 4: Different angle on "Why not everyone?"

My last post focused on the fact that Jesus did not heal everyone He met. Today I want to reflect on the fact that not everyone has been given the gift of healing.

One reason why I am so gung-ho about the church is because it is the body of Christ. I believe that it is the body of believers which receives the Holy Spirit. God is in covenant with us. In America we tend to focus on "me." This spills into our faith models as well. We look first to the individual and speak about 'fair and unfair' in light of individual rights. In the world of Jesus, the world of the Bible, many of our ideas are quite foreign. We do well to hear them.

1 Corinthians 12 concerns spiritual gifts. Paul explains to the people in Corinth that there are various gifts, but the same Holy Spirit is the Giver. There is a single source for the diversity of gifts. He also says that each person receives gifts for the benefit of all. The expression "common good" conveys the meaning of the Greek word (sumphero). This is an important point. What God has given "me" is meant to benefit "us."

Next Paul uses the popular analogy of the body. Each individual is a unique part of the body. He illustrates the variety of gifts by remarking on the different roles of body parts: foot, hand, eye, and ear all have different functions but certainly none is unneeded. Likewise, we should use our gifts for the work of the church and the benefit of others. We should not think of our gifts as a reason for competition.

Lastly, Paul makes clear that not everyone has everything. In verses 29-30 he asks rhetorically, "Are all apostles? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess the gifts of healing?..." Herein lies one of the issues which some overlook. Some people imply that every Christian should be able to manifest the gift of healing. I believe we are all called to pray but I am not sure all of us will experience great success in the healing ministry. This should not lead us to quit praying for healing, but it should temper our frustration when we do not see an awesome manifestation of the gift in our lives.

I know I can preach and teach. I have done it for years with success. It is a natural gift which has been used by God. I also know that not everyone is able to stand before a group and do this. Not every Christian is an effective preacher (even if all Christians are still expected to proclaim the Kingdom). So it should not be a shock to discover not every Christian is a healer (in the signs and wonders sense). But every local church, parish, or congregation needs to be involved in preaching, teaching and healing. That is fundamental. It is also why unity among Christians is so vital. Together we are the body of Christ. Together more of the gifts are manifest. I need to connect with you so that our gifts are working in unison. Also, when we come together the individual gifts are enhanced. It is a spiritual version of a chemical reaction. My gifts + your gifts = something amazing. We need to hunger for God and hunger to be His people. We also need to hunger for a church where we are serving Him by utilizing all the gifts He has given us. Together!

Next post will be my answer to the question: "how can we do this?"

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