My wife and I went to see The Amazing Spider-Man over the July 4th holiday. The first “Spider-Man” movie was released a decade ago. Anyone who saw it or the other two installments in the series are likely to be surprised by the current version, as several aspects of the basic story line have changed. I liked the current story much better than the original movies and felt that the film had a greater sense of depth than its earlier counterparts.
In the end, however, the movie still revolves around a young man who gains superpowers when he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider. What follows is a story of self-discovery and maturation as Peter Parker learns to be “Spider-Man.”
A number of superhero movies have been released recently. The Avengers culminated a series on its characters, including “Iron Man” and “Thor,” while the “Batman” series will conclude later this month. In each of these films, the hero at the beginning of the movie hardly reflects his or her character at the end. As the superheroes learn more about their powers, they discover a greater sense of personal responsibility and the need to intercede on behalf of those who cannot help themselves. While their friends and families don’t always understand their calling, the heroes know that something more is required of them now.
In much the same way, God has given each of us a particular set of spiritual gifts. None of us receives the ability to stick to walls, but each of us has something unique to offer. Like the superheroes portrayed in movies, we have a responsibility to use these gifts for the greater good of God’s Kingdom.
God’s word teaches that “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy . . . All these are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The same Spirit who equipped the disciples has equipped each of us with a particular set of abilities for the good of others and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. And that same Spirit who guided the first believers to use their gifts for God’s purposes stands ready to guide us as well.
Do you know your spiritual gifts? Have you defined your personal ministry? How will the Kingdom advance today because of you?
Ryan Denison is a graduate of Baylor University and Truett Seminary. He recently saw the latest Spider-Man movie and he has written the review for the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture at the request of Dr Jim Denison.