The Ripley's Believe It Or Not in Piccadilly Circus, London
Apologies again for the quality of the picture - this is the building of the Ripley's, Believe it or Not, in Piccadilly Circus in London, at night. All lighted up, lots of people even after 9pm on Saturday would go into the museum... It's kind of pricy, I think, but for £25 I think they will show you the most amazing inventions and the coolest things in there. Basically, you won't believe it - Home to 700 peculiar, amazing and fun exhibits across 5 floors, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is the London attraction sure to excite, delight and thrill the whole family. With everything you can imagine and plenty more you can’t, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London is certainly the place to visit and definitely a day out of the ordinary!
Gifts vs Ministry; Big vs. Small; Supernatural vs Normal and Divine
This week and in the past weeks I have been considering the difference between these two types of things - on the one hand there's the supernatural, the gifts, and something big; on the other hand there's the ministry, something small, normal, and divine. People today when they think about God they think of something supernatural, and especially when they hear "the Holy Spirit" they think of some amazing and great power that falls upon man and does things... Even as believers and as genuine Christians we may have this concept that God needs to do something supernatural and something big - at least from time to time.
What's even more deeper than this is that many believers, just like the rest of the people in the world, appreciate a GIFT in the Body more than they appreciate or promote the MINISTRY. Let me define these terms, at least the way I see them in the light of the Bible. A GIFT is supposed to be something normal, according to the Psalm that says that "He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men" - here we see that each member of the Body is a gift to the Body. But in 2 Corinthians and in Ephesians we see that God gave some specific gifts to the Body of Christ, like: apostles, shepherds and teachers, evangelists, prophets. These are gifted saints who function in their measure to release their portion AND to perfect others to do what they also do.
On the other hand, MINISTRY is not something peculiar and specific that someone has, as we see today in Christianity so many "ministries" - no, Ministry is "the ministry of the new covenant" about which Paul was speaking. The ministry is produced through our enjoyment of the riches of Christ and having these riches being wrought into us through all kinds of sufferings and consuming pressures, so that we have a priceless treasure in an earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). This ministry is produced in a long period of time and is different from the gift - the gift is almost "natural", in the sense that there's a human capacity filled with God's life, while the ministry is being produced in someone who may not be that capable but cooperates with the Lord.
The question is, what do we prefer / promote / desire: do we want something BIG, something SUPERNATURAL, and do we desire to be a GREAT GIFT to the Body? Or do we take the other way, keeping it small, desiring to be ministers, and living a normal and divine life? It is SO TEMPTING to take the large / big / great way - it is humanly natural to choose this. Even if someone doesn't know the Lord and an apostle speaks the word to him, he will be impressed and will say - wow, what a gift, so rich and so high! But in the church life saints may experience the Lord in a hidden and sweet way, not very outward and open, and may even pass through all kinds of sufferings that can't be explained humanly - and we think something's wrong, or maybe they need to do something to get out of this situation... - but the ministry can be produced in such ones!
I am praying that the Lord would open my eyes to see things the way HE sees things. The Lord Jesus, God living on earth as a man, did not do a BIG work - He lived and worked in a small way, in the tiny country of Israel, and did not make sure that everyone in the world heard about Him when He did something! No, He spent time with the Father, He expressed God, and when He did something He tried to tell people not to publicize it. At the same time, the Lord Jesus did something else, something most people didn't notice: He took 3 years and a half to train 11 disciples to be with Him, to be together as a group, and to love Him. That's what He did when He was on the earth, and when He died and resurrected, He had these 11 to be His continuation! He didn't train several thousand people - though He could have... but He trained 12, and one was "lost"!
The disciples followed in the Lord's footsteps - even though at the beginning of their ministry, there were some signs and wonders, some healings and some miracles, the disciples "remained small", and grew in a normal and divine way. Paul was moved by the Lord to go all the way from Israel through all Asia and even into Europe (Acts 16:9) - yet he himself also took the way of the ministry, of being produced as a minister of the new covenant. He passed through a lot of sufferings for the Body of Christ, meeting from his part what was lacking in the Body. Not it's us - "brother we", and it is so tempting to follow or swarm around or appreciate a gift, a genuine gift in the Body. But WHO will pay the price to tell the Lord,
Lord, give me the experiences I need that this ministry may be produced! Lord, I want to be a minister of the new covenant, one who ministers You into people and who cooperates with You in Your ministry today![ what do YOU think about this? Do you still appreciate the gifts in the Body more than desiring to be a minister? Do you see the difference between the gifted ones and the ministers? Do YOU want to be a minister, or is it better / more interesting to be around someone who has a great gift in the Body? How do YOU feel about all this? - let me know in your comments below]