If you had a tap which could pour good things into your life, would you close the tap? No-one would do that! You’d be stupid to block a pipe that brought you good things. You’d be an idiot to turn off a tap that brought liquid gold into your hands.
But people do that very thing all the time. People shut down the supply of good things God has for them, without the slightest hesitation. They even do it with arrogance of heart, feeling good about it.
Don’t look at me like that! If you’ve been reading these posts long enough you’ll know that I don’t make such assertions without a valid point behind it. So, put off your scepticism and let me poke a pointy stick at your heart.
The Spiritual Spout
God’s tap or supply line into our lives is often through an anointed person who comes as God’s agent. In fact the church is established on a set of such anointed and appointed people. The Apostle Paul listed five specific types of ministry person in the church: apostle; prophet; teacher; evangelist; and pastor. These people are described as “gifts” to the church. So individuals are picked up by God, given a specific ministry task by God, and then sent into the church world as God’s gift to the Christians.
“When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:8
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” Ephesians 4:11 [Christians refer to these as either the ‘ascension ministries’ – because verse 8 mentions Christ’s ascension – or the ‘5 Fold Ministries’, because there are five of them]
These men are simply that. They are human. Their mission is divine, but they are only human. This means they will bring their human limitations into their role and tasks. They will be subject to the same foibles and issues which are common to everyone else, such as pride, fear, insecurity, error, reactions, ambition, greed, forgetfulness, foolishness, and so on.
So God’s spiritual spout is often a clunky pipe that we have no difficulty finding fault with. And that sets us up for turning off the tap.
Limiting the Flow
We measure out the level of flow from God’s taps. We either open or close the tap, based on how we receive the person who God sends along as His gift to us. When we welcome a prophet, as a prophet, we have the tap wide open and we receive all that the prophet has to give us. When, on the other hand, we become offended by the prophet’s manner, speech, message, or whatever, we may choose to not accept the prophet as a prophet. We may rather choose to see him as the limited human that he is. We could be justified in finding fault with the prophet’s humanity. But we may also pay a price by our choice to limit the flow. Note the warning given by Jesus
“He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.” Matthew 10:41
When you choose not to receive the prophet as a prophet, but just as a man, you get a lesser input than the prophet’s input would have been.
A blind man, named Bartimaeus [bar = son, so he was the son of Timaeus], heard that Jesus was passing by so he called out to get healed. The result was a miracle of healing as his sight was fully restored. What I want you to note in this situation is that Bartimaeus opened the pipe to receive his healing, while everyone else walked along without a miracle.
“And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, you Son of David, have mercy on me.” Luke 18:36-38
Note that the crowd called Jesus by his human designation, as “Jesus of Nazareth”. Jesus was from Nazareth, where he grew up with his family. This was an accurate title and description. But it was also a limiting title and description. Jesus is much more than a man who grew up in Nazareth.
Jesus came as the Son of God, in human form and as the fulfilment of the promise that a descendent of King David would come with power and rule on God’s behalf. Bartimaeus had faith that Jesus of Nazareth was that descendent of King David, so he called him “Son of David”. By doing this the blind man was opening the pipe – he was receiving Jesus as a prophet and a man of God, not just a bloke from Nazareth.
If Bartimaeus had respected Jesus as a good teacher and a wonderful man from Nazareth, he would not have been miraculously healed. He received the “prophet’s reward” only because he received Jesus as a prophet.
What About You?
If you had a tap which could pour good things into your life, would you close the tap?
If God had people around you who were called of God as His servants, would you receive from them? Do you receive from those who God has called? Do you respect them and honour them as God’s servants? Or are you more distracted by their human failings and the fact that they don’t completely fit your requirements?
Do you receive your mum and dad as the people God gave you to honour? Do you respect and honour the minister of your church? When you hear of people who are being mightily used by God, do you find fault with them or do you thank God that a pipe of blessing has been opened up?
You may already have missed out on amazing graces from God, just by your opinionated attitudes about the humans who God has chosen to use. God may even specifically send some rather human people along, just to challenge your pride and force you to humble yourself in order to get a blessing. Remember that God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud. If you are too proud to honour your father or to receive from the servants of the Lord, then you are the one who is turning off the tap and closing the spout where the blessing comes out.
Tags: apostle, ascension ministries, blind bartimaeus, blocking the pipe, ephesians 4, evangelist, five fold ministry, human weakness, miracle healing, pastor, prophet, prophet's reward, prophets, receive the prophet, rewarder, teacher