We have a log rock garden in our garden. It’s pretty large (4 meters wide and shaped like just over half a circle), sloping upwards from just over ½ a meter to about 1 ¾ meters high. We divided the inside into various ‘rooms’ planting different plants in each ‘room’. As I mentioned recently, I cleaned up each bed, removing, replanting and adding new shoots.
Now, at long last, I can get to laying out the area around this feature. We have various size rocks in different colours, different coloured stones and pebbles and square paving slabs plus a water feature, two bird baths, two wheelbarrows with plants in them, two little statues (men pushing wheelbarrows) … and we need to decide where to put each thing. This is where design comes in, and if you are like me … I’m pretty useless in designing and laying out a garden feature. I’m one of those people who starts without a proper plan putting this there and then changing it to go over there … no, maybe it will look better here … type of thing!
When I look at our wonderful God’s ability to design … he gets it right first time, every time. Look at a few verses:
Ps 8:3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place.
Job 9:9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
Job 38:31 “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the cords of Orion? 32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?”
Ge 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
Though the (universal) Genesis Flood changed many aspects of the planet … the planet’s basic and fundamental shape and form remain as God created in Genesis 1. It is that which God looked at and said, “It’s very good.” The way He allows flowers, shrubs and trees to flourish is nothing but spectacular. Recently some friends of mine visited the West Coast to see the wild flowers in all their “spring” glory. God is awesome in the manner He tends to lay out sights of beauty and splendor.
Then, when you think of the elaborate design of the priestly garments and the layout of the Tabernacle with the Holy Place and Holy of Holies, you see how detail is so important to God. And why not? After all, He is matchless in beauty and splendor Himself. As we progress into the New Testament, we see the amazing design God has for the layout of His Church. Although there is no comprehensive list to be found, there are sufficient indications of ‘design’ to be effected to display order, management, governance, functionality, protection and proficient smooth operation. Look at these passages … Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 and Ephesians 4:11-13. Remember these lists are not exhaustive and some, like Apostles and Prophets in their original usage, have ceased to exist. All these gifts are given by God. Each believer is given gifts according to God’s determination. Each believer needs to use his or her gift mix to enhance, beautify and bless the Church. Let’s consider some gifts the Bible mentions:
Administration: The ability to help steer the church, or a ministry, toward the successful completion of God-given goals, with skills in planning, organization, and supervision.
Discernment: The wisdom to recognize truth from untruth by correctly evaluating whether a behavior or teaching is from God or another, ungodly source.
Evangelism: The ability to successfully communicate the message of the gospel, especially to nonbelievers.
Exhortation: Competence in offering encouragement, comfort, and support to help someone be all that God wants them to be.
Faith: People with this gift have such great confidence in the power and promises of God that they can stand strong in their belief, no matter what may try to shake them. They can also stand up for the church and for their faith in such a way as to defend and move it forward.
Giving: Those who have this gift are particularly willing and able to share what resources they have with pleasure, and without the need to see them returned.
Healing: A capability used by God to restore others, be that physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.
Helps: Someone with this gift is able to support or assist members of the body of Christ so that they may be free to minister to others.
Hospitality: A natural ability to make people—even strangers—feel welcome in one’s own home or church as a means to disciple or serve them.
Knowledge: This is the gift of someone who actively pursues knowledge of the Bible. This person may also enjoy analyzing Biblical data.
Leadership: This aptitude marks a person who is able to stand before a church, to direct the body with care and attention, and to motivate them toward achieving the church’s goals.
Mercy: This is the defining trait of a person with great sensitivity for those who are suffering. It manifests itself in offering compassion and encouragement, and in a love for giving practical help to someone in need.
Prophecy: The ability to speak the message of God to others. This sometimes involves foresight of what is to come. This skill should be used only to offer encouragement or warning.
Serving: A talent for identifying tasks needed for the body of Christ and using available resources to get the job done.
Speaking in Tongues: The supernatural ability to speak in another language (one that has not been learned).
Teaching: The skill to teach from the Bible and communicate it effectively for the understanding and spiritual growth of others.
Wisdom: The gift of being able to sort through facts and data to discover what needs to be done for the church.
(These come from tyndale.com)
Dear God, thank You for giving the Church everything needed to function properly. Help me to identify my spiritual gift mix and to fulfil my part in making Your Church attractive and beautiful for Your glory. Amen.