Thursday, April 2, 2009

Different Strokes Fo Different Folks

I Corinthians 12:4-11

Back in the late 1920’s the U. S, Government funded a solar housing project in New York. Solar energy was proposed to be the way of the future, and this project was to be the model. A thousand homes were built, and records of their performance were kept.

250 homes performed flawlessly, requiring no additional heating. Another 500 homes required approximately the same amount of additional heat as comparable homes in the area, but had over heating problems at times. The final 250 homes required nearly double the amount of additional heat as standard homes. Solar energy fell out of favor, and was not seriously considered again until the early 1970’s. Why?

Every house was identical in construction, but because of lot alignments, and for aesthetic reasons the houses were turned facing different directions. Houses on the south side of east west streets faced north while those on the north side faced south. Houses on north south streets faced east and west. This resulted in some of the solar collectors being properly oriented, and properly heating the homes while others were facing different directions. Those facing east or west received excessive sun in the morning or evening, and none the rest of the day. Those facing north received none, and acted to remove heat from the home. This was not reflected in the records that were kept. Realigning the collectors to meet the conditions would have prevented all the problems.

Different groups of people, in different locations have different needs. What works perfectly in one place may be ineffective or disastrous in a another location. This has been repeatedly demonstrated using prepared teaching curriculums in public schools and in churches. A program that worked very well in inner city New York, may be ineffective in Farmington, New Mexico and a total disaster in Toadlena, New Mexico.

Just as a cookie cutter approach ignores the needs of the specific home, a cookir cutter approach to building a church ignores the needs of a specific church, producing erratic results. The Holy Spirit understands the specific needs, and provides what is needed for each church to accomplish what is required so that no church comes behind in any area according to I Corinthians 1:4-7.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (I Corinthians 12:4-7)

The Holy Spirit may lead one church to do things one way and another to do them another. For example, one group may support individual missionaries while another puts their money into a fund which then distributes evenly. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and God did not specify that only one was acceptable. It is to be done according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same Holy Spirit leading in both cases.

The Holy Spirit also sets the different people in the church that he wants there and gives them the gifts they need to do the job God wants done. The gifts may be permanent or temporary, and may be spread among a large number or concentrated in a few, This is the Holy Spirit’s choice.

“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (I Corinthians 12:8-11)

Since it is the same Holy Spirit, there will be no conflict between those who are walking in the Spirit. There will be a unity of purpose, working together to get the job done. To demand that others do things exactly as we do indicates an unspiritual condition. The Holy Spirit knows what is needed. We don’t.

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