It was time to go running, & at the last minute I decided to run outside, in the real world; it was too nice not too. There’s only so long that a person can ‘treadmill’ it. Outside, on the road-running is a completely different exercise than I normally do (vs. the elliptical & treadmill, to save wear-&-tear on the knees…) Surprisingly, I immediately found my pace & my stride. And as soon as I did, my brain kicked into ‘defrag’ mode. Hmm. In a way i don’t quite get, running Outside stimulates a kind of thinking & processing that happens only in the Real, & (almost) never in the fabricated work out world of Gymnasium.
Thoughts course through my brain like a train moves across a landscape; the first sign of the thought is welcomed, as it moves so slowly, sometimes barely perceived, but there, just crawling along. Then it’s GONE when least expected.
Pondering 2Timothy 1:3-7, & the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to ‘stir up the gifts in you by the laying on of my hands’…
We (the modern Western Church, get ‘funny’ (funny-weird, not funny ha-ha) when the subject of spiritual gifts comes up. Maybe its just me & my 39 years of church life experience, but we have a preoccupation with knowing what My spiritual gifts are… & we love the Spiritual Gift Assessment tests to let us know what gifts we have, & by default ‘don’t have.’
As I run, I wonder if the early church cared to try & identify their particular spiritual gifts… I laugh out loud (which the people I run by must be think so amusing,) when I imagine Pastor Timothy of Ephesus trying to get people together for a Gifts assessment…
My mind wanders to the present day, to thoughts of those in persecuted nations, like my friend “Jerry” who lives for Christ ‘off the grid’ or ‘under the radar’ in China. The idea of a Spiritual Gifts Assessment or Test for Jerry & his house-church seems ludicrous because of the gravity of their day to day life & very real “life & death” dependence on the infilling & leading of the Holy Spirit.
I think of the Acts 4 church, facing the threat of violence, bodily harm, persecution, & death – & their prayers… for boldness, not for protection. For boldness to speak the word, to live as Christ’s witnesses in the face of whatever may come. And they were filled (refilled?) with the Holy Spirit. And they continued to speak the word with boldness.
Running still. I pray for boldness, to be filled with the Spirit, to be prepared for whatever, for the no matter what.
The train in my brain gives me a glimpse of the spirituals as Paul calls them in 1Corinthians 12:1… the spirituals, giftings & empowerings of the Holy Spirit. God’s blessings & provisions for His people, as a way of life. To share with others, to build up, encourage, comfort & strengthen each other, as the life situation demands or calls for it. It’s definitely Less about what gift I have, than it is the “on the go” provision given me for the situations I’m in, & the peoples I’m surrounded by… My prayer turns to a question: “how can I love You, God today? And how can I love the people I’m with? Show me Your ways…”
Done running. The sun came out at the end, reminding me that midday is NOT the time to be out under the Orb. Yet I’m thankful for the defrag, for the time with the LORD. Something has stuck with me… & there’s a confidence that what I need for today will be provided, at just the right time.
And I’m thankful. And tired.