Extraordinary Gentlemen

The Storyteller – Article / July – September 2020

While in high school there were some young men I looked up to. In this, all-boys school were some outstanding young men that I greatly admired. A few for their academic prowess and a few others for their outstanding achievements in sports. This particular young man was in my year (year three) but far younger than the average age for year three. He was so outstanding that they took him straight out of primary and into year two, but that year group wasn’t enough of a challenge for him so within weeks they placed him in our year three group. He skipped year one and two and just a few months was already halfway through high school.  

I also greatly admired our schools’ top basketball player who also happened to be one of the top table tennis players in the entire school. I couldn’t get my head around it. How could they do so well? I was trying very hard yet not getting anywhere with either sports or academics yet these lads, with the same hours in a day, were excelling far beyond anything I could even dream of. 

Now, as I look back and begin to put the pieces together, I realise it was more than just talent. They had strict after school activities. When we observed their achievement we were seeing the result of hours of training/studies and hard work that took place away from the prying eyes of the public.  

The Lord saved me the very next year after I graduated high school and with newfound purpose and vision, I too began to excel in areas of my life. I was now passing my exams and becoming a leader among my pairs. The ordinary, underachieving, aimless young man was being totally transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was now a part of the Ecclesia, God’s own special people, anointed with the oil intended only for those who are members of the royal priesthood. In the days of the Tabernacle a natural oil mixture was used but today we are anointed by someone much more precious, the Holy Spirit.  

“Say to the people of Israel, ‘This holy anointing oil is to be used in my service for all time to come. It must not be poured on ordinary men…’” Exodus 30:31-32 (GNT)

What great honour for one to be numbered among the extraordinary, the special people? What worries me, however, is that our enemy seems set on defiling these holy people. Many who want to escape the corruption that has become standard in the world such as its cowardice, malice, deception, hypocrisy, envy, greed and sexual immorality etc. turn to the Church expecting something different but what do they find? More of the same. Their thirsty souls beg for change but the popular Christianity of today offers nothing different. We think like the world, sound like the world, look like the world and behave like the word. The one candle in a dark world seems to be going out. 

Even nature is disgusted, “…the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God.” says Romans 8:19 (NET) All creation longs for the unveiling of the extraordinary. Where are those who were able to keep themselves from slipping and falling into the pit of ordinariness? Peter tries to remind us as to who we are, “…you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” 1 Peter 2:9 

So then, what makes us special or extraordinary? The fact that we were called, chosen and set apart by God for God. The oil is to be used only on those called and appointed by God as priests. The irony is, however, that many of the fortunate few whom God has endowed with this most unique, special and extraordinary gift do not appreciate it. The majority eventually reject it. In great sadness, Peter declares, “The pig returns to its wallow and the dog to its vomit.” (see 2 Peter 2:22) How human nature is bent on spoiling a good thing.

Where are they that will fight the temptation to succumb to the ordinary and common? Those who will hold in high esteem their priestly call and are determined not to defile it as noted members of the early priestly order did? Where are those who in a filthy godless world will hold to standards which clearly define us as extraordinary, different and the people of God? Those who are called now have a duty to walk worthy of this high calling (Ephesians 4:1). To remain undefiled we must, with the help of the Holy Spirit, take stock of the things which trip us up like those habits which debilitate us and the idols that distract us. To avoid defilement we must apply strict discipline to achieve mastery over self (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-27).