Are you functional….or do you function?
That’s an awkwardly phrased question. I admit it. When defined as a noun,
Merriam-webster online describes “function” as a “professional or official position,” and I suspect that is where most of us live our lives, that is the boundary around which we set expectations and interactions.
But I think God’s heart is much closer to the verb form of “function,” which is “the action for which a person or thing is specially fitted or used or for which a thing exists: purpose.”
Purpose. Specially fitted. That sounds like the care our Creator and loving Papa gives each of us, and which each of us is designed to share with each other.
The Lord spoke to me about this this distinction of definition quite clearly, the other day.
I had volunteered to take photos at what might be described as an “impromptu wedding.” The bride-and-groom, its wedding party, and its attendees consisted entirely of young people (minus their respective parents in attendance). And while I greeted, welcomed, walked around a bit and hugged people, I primarily kept to myself to be sure I adequately performed the function of taking pictures before, during, and after the ceremony. In fact, I had my closest contact with a large group of the attendees as I left, since they were all parked near my car. I said farewells to them all, waving and having hugged a couple of them before pulling away.
That doesn’t sound unfriendly. That doesn’t even sound distant or impersonal. But I think the Lord had a different standard.
Almost immediately upon getting behind the steering wheel, I felt like the Lord pointed out to me that I had been so busy focusing on the function of taking photos…I had not been functional on His behalf. I had not even consulted Him as to what He might have had in mind for the gathering of people who had come to witness the ceremony. He impressed upon me that over half the people in attendance had never set foot through a church doorway before…and yet I had not come to Him to ask if anyone needed healing, needed encouragement, or should have an opportunity for prayer offered to them.
Ouch. Or, more colloquially speaking, “a teachable moment.”
Worship leader/author John Belt recently wrote, “If you have been on the planet long enough you will find that you can experience a variety of atmospheres. Depending on the places you go during the day you can discover a wide range in the types of spiritual climates. But we are not called to conform to oppressive atmospheres but to change them with the Light of God. We can have impact wherever we go, bringing the atmosphere of heaven…Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. There are so many opportunities out there with people carrying all kinds of issues, heaviness, oppression, worry and fear. You can be the one who changes their atmosphere just through taking time to bring them into an experience with God’s Presence.”*
So many opportunities.
Belt ended his article with the encouragement, “Let God fill you with faith to pray for others, step out of your comfort zone. God will meet you there!”
But we might not see that divine meeting-place with Him if we – each of us, individually – have our eyes and ears focused solely on the function….and not our functionalitythrough the empowering of His Spirit….
*Identity Network June 16, 2015, John Belt, “Atmosphere Changers”