Being single is a gift…being married is also a gift. When the pharisees challenged Jesus about marriage in heaven, he used the same word referring to the gift of singleness as Paul used in referring to gifts of the Spirit. When I was single…and I married at age 30…I struggled with appreciating the gift He had given me.
Why does God give gifts? Partly for our pleasure, partly for the ministry He has for us. You could even think of His gifts as tools to be used and the goal of the gift is the work done with the tool–we get the satisfaction of work well done. The permanent part is the work done–not the tool used. Marriage is temporary: there is no marriage in heaven other than being the Bride of Christ.
What do we have then, on earth?
“…different distributions of spiritual gifts, these gifts being diverse from one another, but there is the same Spirit. And there are different distributions of various kinds of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different distributions of divine energy motivating these gifts in their operation, but the same God who by His divine energy operates them all in their sphere. But to each one there is constantly being given clearly seen operations of the Spirit with a view to the profit of all.” (1 Cor 12)
There’s a big-picture thing going on here, and when I am frustrated by my little part of it I am missing the fact that it isn’t my show. You could change the image, and call it a ginormous quilt……..
…..I deeply appreciate quilts. My mother would love to have me be a quilter and I think they are amazingly beautiful works of craftsmanship and maybe someday I will be but right now, I just have all manner of quilting books & supplies from Mom and a few quilts I’ve picked up over the years that somebody else used their gifts on. One of these is an Irish Chain postage stamp quilt that has squares maybe 1 inch big…on a double bed size. The pattern and color of patchwork comes from every piece being different, yet all sewn skillfully together to make a beautiful whole. This is like the Body of Christ, and this is like marriage, and this is like life in general.
So many times I am reminded of quilts, and the many colors and fabrics that go in to creating them. Some of my days are bright and cheerful, some are loud and crazy, some somber and quiet. A few are the deepest dark. If I could somehow take the darkest patches off of my postage stamp quilt, it wouldn’t look right. You need the contrast to make it look best. I suspect that my life needed those dark times. If I ripped off the patches I don’t like on the quilt on my bed I’ll get a cold breeze blowing into my slumbers! It’s the union of all those patches into a whole that makes the bed warm, and Jesus is the master quilter who puts it all together to keep my life warm.
I’ll elaborate later–Dave just got up. We are, once again, doing the night shift at the Gettysburg Reenactment and that means we spend from 7pm to 7am together awake doing security this year, outside on a hill looking over tents and battlefield under the stars. Imagine the possibilities….