Friday, April 23, 2010

Do You Know Your MOS?

The acronym ‘MOS’ stands for Military Occupational Specialty. This is the advanced training a soldier, sailor, marine or airman (known today jointly as “warfighters”) receives after basic training. This is specialized training for the job they will be performing in their respective units. No warfighter is specialized in every task needed. For instance, I was a 68G30, which was an Aircraft Structural Repairer. The ‘30’ designation meant I could provide technical instruction and supervisory oversight to other 68Gs. This was my primary task, even as I constantly trained on the things all warfighters do, i.e. weapon qualifications, drills and refresher training. Others specialize in engine repair, hydraulics or avionics. Together we formed an aviation maintenance unit.

All warfighters know how to fire an M-4 rifle, and many know how to fire an M-249 SAW, but to be a sniper requires advanced training. The military can deploy whatever specialty that is needed for the task.

In Romans 12:4-8, Paul wrote about the specialized ‘MOS’ of the body of Christ. He wrote:

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

He also wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:

4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

As you can see, God believes in specialization also. He distributes the gifts and talents to us as he (God) sees fit. These gifts are our ‘MOS’, and we should become proficient in them. They are the advanced training we need to perform our task in the service to the body.

I have always questioned how effective someone is who claims to have all the gifts (or how honest!). Nobody can do many things as well as a single thing. The military knows this. This is why someone with an MOS in truck repair is able to fight if need be, but will never be as adept at it as one who’s MOS in Infantry.

In the same way, if my ‘MOS’ is hospitality, why can’t I be content with that? Why must I want the gifts Paul said were “presentable”, or out front and visible if that isn’t my spiritual MOS?

Part of the problem with a church (not a building but a group of people) is they all want to replicate the same few gifts but leave the other ones needed alone. A group of 30 believers assemble together and 15 have the gift of teaching, preaching or prophesy and the other 15 feel as they have no gift. Where is hospitality? Where is the gift of giving? How about administration? Encouragement? Serving?

One of the biggest failings in the church is our lack of knowing what God has called and trained us to do. Less than 1 in 10 Christians I know can tell me their spiritual gift and or calling. How can we do the master’s work if we don’t know our job?

What is your MOS? If you don’t know, why don’t you know?

Jeffrey Henning
April 2010


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