Guest post by Rob Tims
Roughly a year into my marriage, my wife and I decided the Lord was leading us to move from Dallas, TX to sunny south Florida. Our belongings were relatively meager, as was our income, but the church we were headed to serve in generously provided enough money for us to move without any significant personal expense.
With their gift, we packed all of our belongings ourselves, but hired three men at an hourly rate to pack a Penske truck I rented. Once they packed up the truck, I hitched up my car to the back of the truck, and began a 2-day journey all alone. My wife stayed behind a few days with her dad to close up the house and do all the other little things you have to do when moving.
The Penske truck was nice. Brand new, actually. Comfortable. Pretty quiet. But new and nice does not always guarantee a smooth trip. In the middle of Nowhere, South Georgia, I instantly lost the ability to steer the truck while driving 65 miles an hour. The heat also went out. Fortunately, I really was in the middle of nowhere, and no one was around when I rather wildly stopped the truck on the site of the rural highway.
I was also fortunate to have a mobile phone. This was 2001. Mobile phones were not common yet, and I had no business having one when you considere my finances, but I had one nonetheless, and was able to call Penske and get a service technician out to take a look at the van.
The problem was simple: the one belt … which he called a “serpentine” belt … that ran virtually every system in the truck had broken. And because the truck was new, no one had any replacement belts. To make matters worse, belts from older trucks would not work, even if he attempted to bypass non-essential systems, like the heater or air conditioner.
So, I hopped into the cab of the tow truck while he loaded the Penske (and my car attached to it), and we headed to a small town whose name I cannot remember. Once we arrived around dinner time, the nice guy at the service place informed me he had already ordered the belt and it would arrive in two days.
So, for two days I hung out at a Motel 6 eating my meals at the Wendy’s across the street and watching television.
I’ve never been so grateful for a serpentine engine belt in all my life.
Just as the engine of that truck had many parts, so a church has people with many gifts. Together, the proper function of those gifts leads to the proper function of the church.
But also like that truck engine, the gifts of the people in the church are completely dependent upon one thing … one Person, really … in order for their gifts to function properly; namely, the Holy Spirit.
As Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
Everything good and right that happens in the church … that gives the church the power and ability to do what it does … happens because of the Holy Spirit.
Not the pastor or staff.
Not the biggest financial contributor.
Not money, power. or position.
Every church is completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
What is your church depending on?
Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.