God made promises to us that He would not leave us or forsake us and that He would help us, His children. Yes, He can reach down and personally give me whatever help I need but it is His plan to mold us into a 'body' that functions in harmony and helps each other. Some are especially gifted in the area of helping.
In the world, this person might be an outstanding administrative assistant, chairman of a charitable committee, or an organized, innovative homemaker. They might love to participate in outreach opportunities or mission trips or help cook Wednesday night dinners. They nurture and nourish the individuals of the church with their ability to see the needs of the one and the needs of groups.
Our tendency is to think of spectacular things coming from the Holy Spirit, and more ordinary things coming from ourselves. But the fact is that all gifts come from God.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens.
- James 1:17
When we see someone in the church speaking in tongues, or praying for someone and they are healed, or preaching an exceptional sermon, we think of them as gifted. But the Holy Spirit is just as much involved when someone knows how to see the things that need to be done, how to go about helping, and is willing to do what is needed.
A friend of mine who is a pastor calls these "two by four" ministries, because, like the frame of a house, they are covered up by the more spectacular things, but they are absolutely essential. God wants us to see through to the hidden, helping ministries.
First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages.
- 1 Corinthians 12:28
As we work together in the body everybody will have some opportunities to lead, and everyone will have some opportunities to follow. Often these will both happen at the same time.
The person who can follow the best will often be the best type of leader. Jesus chose 12 men to be disciples-that is people who would follow him and learn from him. When it was all done, they were called apostles-people who were sent forth to do a mission. They were God's helpers!
But to the church they were leaders, "pastors to the pastors" of the various churches, teaching and even defining new doctrine for the young church. There are no leaders in the kingdom who were not at some time good followers.
All scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.
Copyright © 2005, Henry E. Neufeld
Taken from the Participatory Study Series