Round Pegs and Square Holes
In my pasture right now are over a dozen horses. I have a few Tennessee Walking Horses, a gaited Mountain Horse filly, and several Gaited Appaloosa Saddlehorses. Some of these are related to one another–all but one of my young stock are sired by my TWH stallion, and we own their mothers. We often have other types and breeds of horses here; each needs to be trained and ridden.
One of the first things I do with each horse is watch it. While this is a never ending source of entertainment, that’s not the primary goal. My goal is to assess each horse based on its individual merits, so when I begin working with that animal, I will already have a strong sense of its talents, personality, and natural way of going. There are distinct differences in every single one of these horses, whether they are related to one another or not. Not to recognize and acknowledge these differences is to do them, and their owners, a tremendous disservice. Knowing and dealing with an animal according to its individual qualities is perhaps the most important thing we can do for a horse.
Horses brought to me for help are often those that have been trained according to some breed expectations or formula. A Peruvian Horse, for example, is ridden in a certain kind of bit and saddle. It’s expected, and made to perform, a particular gait, in a particular manner. Why? Simply because it is a Peruvian Horse–and that’s what tradition demands. The same thing holds true for virtually every kind of gaited horse. The horses most likely to be harmed, sometimes ruined, are those whose talents fall outside the ‘norm’ for their particular breed. What is sad is when I see a horse with a talent for one gait forced into artificial and inhumane devices in order to make it execute something entirely different. Such a horse isn’t doing what it is made and gifted to do, and doesn’t do what it is expected to do very well, either. What a waste.
Doesn’t this same thing happen to Christians? We act a certain way, serve a certain function, adhere to a specific set of values, depending on what ‘breed’ of believer we are: Baptist, Charismatic, Methodist, SDA, etc. This is so true, in fact, that some Christians will take me to task for even believing that some of these sects of Christendom represent Christ at all. Besides denominational values, we are also expected to fit into some preset role within the denomination. This rarely has anything to do with our true natural gifts and callings. To make matters worse, the only talents and skills considered to be of use to God are those used within a traditional religious frame of reference. We think that someone with a gift for training horses, or building houses, or designing web pages–or simply driving truck or answering the telephone–could surely never be used by God in these ‘worldly, unspiritual’ pursuits.
We do the Lord and our brethren a tremendous disservice when we force His servants into roles for which He has never equipped nor prepared them, and only encourage and value contributions which fall into some familiar spiritual frame of reference. How often has that quiet little pastor’s wife who also teaches Sunday School had prophetic dreams that she did not recognize nor deal with as prophetic because, after all, she “isn’t a prophet.” (As though such a thing could exist.) How many times has a pastor had to stand in front of his congregation with a teaching–though he may possess a gift of wisdom that would operate better in everyday circumstances? Maybe the bored young man at the back of the church could have shared a powerful, life changing spiritual insight, intended specifically for one or two in the congregation, had he only been encouraged to recognize, explore and develop his true calling in Christ–Who is not our religion, but our Life. Maybe you were supposed to speak a timely word of encouragement to that convenience store clerk who seemed so harried and distracted yesterday. . .
The church will never be the church until we come out of this limited, futile manner of believing and acting, and allow our one True Teacher to do whatsoever He will with each one of us, where He wants, and when He wants.
Hebrews 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Author’s emphases)
Matt: 23:8&10: But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers. . .10 Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ.
I Cor. 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are diversities of ministrations, and the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit: 9 to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; 10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.
1 Peter 4:10 according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; 11 if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
God bless you,