I came out of my office the other night about a half hour before service. In addition to the usual flutter of early birds preparing for ministry, there was a new covey gathered in the back of the sanctuary. About 20 folks were lined up in front of a table full of plastic bags, energy bars, and assorted toilet items. There were senior citizens, teenagers, and pretty much everything in between. They were all there to stuff bags to be carried to the homeless. The program is called Jesus’ Jewels. The idea is to prepare “bags of hope” filled with material that would be useful to a person who is living on the street: toiletries, first aid items, water bottles, non-perishable snacks, and a clean pair of socks. All this, along with a salvation tract and a community resources directory, are enclosed in a one gallon freezer bag suitable for protecting valued items while living outdoors. On Saturday, outreach teams will take to the parks handing out bags and offering prayer for whatever needs they find. It is quite an effective ministry. As a pastor, I was overcome with gratitude for so many folks from all walks of life who would show up an hour early to church for the chance to be a blessing to someone else.
Peter tells us that each one of us has received a gift (1 Peter 4:10). The Greek word for “gift” is charisma. It derives directly from the word charis, meaning “grace.” Every believer has received a droplet of grace that is particularly his own. In church we often preach about how each one has some gift or another. Indeed, when the church is gathered together it is like a big pond, filled with myriad droplets. We know each drop has significance, but when they are all pooled up, it is hard to see the drop, much less its special purpose. If you put the same water in a channel, it will begin to flow and exert force. It can be used to generate power or irrigate crops: Same water, different vessel. When someone utilizes their gift of leadership and administration to provide a channel for the gathered droplets, there is an immediate shifting of the water, an outflow though the channel provided by vision and organization. That is a prime function of leadership: to provide direction and boundaries to allow droplets to flow, moving from the pond to the fields in need of water.
Somebody Said: “It is the responsibility of leadership to provide opportunity, and the responsibility of individuals to contribute.” William Pollard
Scripture Reading: In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. Romans 12:6-8 NLT
Both the pool and the channel are necessary. We cannot shortchange the importance of either. The pool without the channel becomes stagnant, fetid. The channel without the pool quickly runs dry. There is purpose in our corporate gatherings. We are preparing a big bunch of droplets for the moment when the channel is opened. There is purpose in our programs. We are providing channels for the release of the pooled power of the grace of God.