It is a Wednesday afternoon, and I finished work early because of the Thanksgiving holiday. My mother and Keith, my brother and his children went with us to church last Sunday morning. My brother is gifted with music: any instrument he has set his mind to learn, he has learned. I am jealous sometimes because I know I appreciate music more than most people — even most musicians — and yet I never learned to play an instrument or express myself musically other than with singing.
I called Pastor Bobby and arranged for my brother Joel to share his gift on Sunday morning. Pastor and I talked for about 40 minutes. I didn’t tell him that I was discouraged; Sikki had collided with my sister-in-law’s vehicle earlier that morning, which would cost us, plenty. But Pastor apparently was also discouraged at the time that I phoned, because he emailed me the next morning and thanked me for calling, that he had been encouraged, that the timing had been perfect, etc.
The Lord is a God of Knowledge.
So we went to church together on Sunday morning. My brother shared a couple songs and the response of the people was obvious in worship. Joel phoned yesterday to say how encouraged he had been by the experience; not just of sharing his gifting with the fellowship, but by hearing from six other people who shared during the meeting. American evangelicalism has failed because its form and style does not encourage the functioning of the entire body.
I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. – Revelation 3:1
My brother told me he was struck by the realization of how much he needs to hear what God is doing in others and receive ministry from other believers. He is not connected to a church right now and has no idea where to go in his current living situation. He said he misses fellowship.
It is an impossibility that a functioning, vibrant Christian can be separated from the rest of the Body of Christ. But it can be difficult to find a group of believers that allow time and space for the messiness of real community to operate and function. The Sin of Uzzah dominates the church of my time.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. – 1 Chronicles 13:10
The people of God must stir up the gifts within them, and not hide their lights under a bushel. Here is a sample of my brother’s music. He sang on Sunday using only an acoustic guitar that he borrowed from Keith. I prefer the acoustic version.