Romans 1:11-12 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Good things happen when Christians get together. However, expectation plays a big role in what goes on. That’s a major reason we are blessed when a “special speaker” comes to town. They may not say anything different from our pastor, but because they say it a little differently, and look different, we are more likely to receive the truth that is being expressed. The things Paul talks about here – impartation of spiritual gifts and mutual encouragement and strengthening – can and should happen among us any time believers get together. Particularly in the area of impartation, we are more likely to receive through someone we don’t know so well, because we tend to focus on the vessel rather than on the contents. Even Jesus said that a prophet isn’t well received in their own hometown! (Matthew 13:57) We receive far more from God when we focus on Him rather than on the person we see with our senses. Conversely, we are far more likely to be used by God to bless others when we get our focus off of ourselves and onto Him and those He wants to touch through us. Even when we fall short in that area it feels good to get together with other believers, but we should not settle for just feeling good. We need to remember just Whom we serve, and expect Him to act among us.
I have experienced the blessings of Christian fellowship countless times, but those times have certainly run the gamut from mildly nice to a powerful move of God. I prefer the moves of God! I need to expect God to show up without presuming on Him or trying to make Him do anything. That can be a hard line to walk! Yesterday in the service, lunch, Christmas decorating, and the culminating Thanksgiving dinner, God did a number of good things. I wasn’t aware of any direct impartation, but people were certainly encouraged, and I think several people who are not yet Christians were drawn closer to faith. I need to expect that more and more! For much of my life I have tended to be a loner, and I have not particularly enjoyed gathering in groups, but the Lord continues to work on me. I need to look at gatherings as opportunities to be with Jesus, since He said that He is among us when we gather as His children. (Matthew 18:20) I need to be ready and expecting to receive from Him through my brothers and sisters in Christ, and be available to Him in imparting gifts to them.
Father, thank You for all You did yesterday, both what I was aware of and what I wasn’t. I pray that You would confirm, seal, and strengthen what You did in each heart and life, so that those who don’t yet know you would commit themselves to You in repentance and faith, and those who already know You would grow to be more of what You created us to be, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!