Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Christian Commies

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. -- 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

We may be familiar with Paul's list of spiritual gifts here in chapter 12, as well as the more general categories he mentions in Romans 12.  It is not exhaustive.  All our talents, skills, and abilities are or may be spiritual gifts.  They can be warped -- I'm pretty sure pole-dancing for Jesus is a miss, but the underlying gift remains. 

I don't have any church-y gifts.  I write code.  I'm not particularly good at it, but I manage to get the job done.  There are a lot of people like me, the remarkably average.  We can't sing or play music very well, if at all.  We aren't preachers or prophets or workers of miracles.  We aren't artists or poets or writers.  We get up in the morning, and we go to work.  We do what needs to be done, take care of what needs to be taken care of.  Doing the job, whether it's cleaning the house, baking bread, driving a truck, growing a business, or growing corn, is to be done for the Lord. 

Living right itself is a "manifestation of the Spirit for the common good".  How we live and how we respond and react to the things that happen to us has an effect on the people around us -- family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.  If we are able to "manifest the Spirit", we build the kingdom.  However minor and humble and insignificant what it is I do, if I do it in and by the Spirit, God is glorified.  As we learned from Brother Lawrence:
So, likewise, in his business in the kitchen (to which he had naturally a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of GOD, and with prayer, upon all occasions, for His grace to do his work well, he had found everything easy, during the fifteen years that he had been employed there. 

That he was very well pleased with the post he was now in; but that he was as ready to quit that as the former, since he was always pleasing himself in every condition, by doing little things for the love of GOD.
We might even say that this is where Communism picked up just enough truth to be dangerous.  The whole "greater good" argument in the politic realm is specious.  The greater good in the sphere of the market and economics comes only by way of the cumulative effect of a lot of individual "goods".  Altruism in government is tyranny.  Overriding the individual rights of any person in the name of virtue is evil.  Government's sole righteous role is defense of the rights of the individual against those who would steal, kill, and destroy.  That's the divine mandate that God gives to those who "wield the sword". 

Meanwhile, we in the Body of Christ are real communists.  We believe in giving to and helping those in need whether or not they are always deserving.  We live to serve others in our communion — that is, family, church, and neighborhood.  We do not need a bunch of overpaid and armed bureaucrats forcing us to be kind and demanding we behave according to the standards laid down by Hollywood or Harvard.  We want only to be at liberty to act as channels for the blessings of our Lord.  We understand that not everybody is going to live in obedience to Christ.  This does not keep us from obeying.  We believe that those who live according to the flesh will be judged fairly and appropriately, and that we will give account only for ourselves and what we did with that which we were given. 

We also believe that if there is something that troubles our conscience, like abortion, drug abuse, promiscuity, etc., we ought not be forced to fund or support it.  We ask only to be able to live by our faith and beliefs, not imposing them upon others, but exposing in all things the righteousness of God's Way, the truth of His Word, and the love of His Life. 


John Lien said...

If we are able to "manifest the Spirit", we build the kingdom. However minor and humble and insignificant what it is I do, if I do it in and by the Spirit, God is glorified.

Da! You speak truth, Comrade Mushroom!

julie said...


What John said™

mushroom said...


Rick said...

I know a lot of people, but I can only name a few brothers.
(You too, Sis.)