I recently stumbled on the anime Charlotte. Intrigued by the fact it’s by the same producers as Clannad and Angel Beats! (both of which I adore), I started watching. As a general, spoiler-free summary, the show follows the story of Yuu Otosaka, a young boy with the special power of taking over people’s minds/bodies for 5 seconds, and his run-ins with other adolescents with different powers.
The anime’s got some comedic moments, as well as some pretty intense feels in the middle of the series (you kinda’ see them coming, but you really hope you’re wrong about the plot, but then you’re right and then they slam you). One thing that I noticed as a subtle, consistent theme, though, was that all the powers were, in some way, incomplete. It was not until multiple powers were used together that something of any consequence could be achieved. For example, the protagonist can control people, but only for 5 seconds, they have to be in his line of vision, he passes out when he does so, and he feels any pain, etc. the person experiences when he’s in control. We also have a girl who can turn invisible (another key character in the show), but only for 1 person at a time and she’s still detectable by cameras. Somehow, these “incomplete powers” remind me of our own “powers” as Christians. (“Read More” to see where my crazy mind is going with this, haha.)
Despite our “powers” perhaps not being as “cool” as the ability to teleport, move things with our minds, or fly (one I think we’ve all dreamed of, sans those with a fear of heights), we do, in a way, each have our own “powers” as Christians. And, like those in the show, these powers are incomplete.
So, what the heck am I talking about? I’m talking about spiritual gifts, passions, and talents. “Well, those aren’t ‘powers’, silly.” Yes, they are. Not in the sense of how we typically mean “powers”, but they are in fact powers. See, God made each of us differently. He made some people artistic, others logical, and others still a mix of each. Some people are natural-born leaders, whereas others prefer to serve quietly. God also gave us each different spiritual gifts. For some, this is faith – just a natural ability to be able to trust God through all. For others, this may be prophecy or tongues. However, they are all a God-given “power” that we are to use for a goal; to spread the Good News.
Now, God didn’t make any talent, passion, or gift “better” or “worse” than the others. He created each of us as we are because each of our talents, passions, and gifts is, on its own, incomplete. Having a natural talent and passion for music is great, but you may never attempt to use them to lead someone to Christ through worship, for example, unless someone with a spiritual gift for encouragement pushes you to do so. Being able to speak in tongues may be awesome, but without someone there who’s gifted in interpretation, your message may never reach who it was intended for. None of our “powers” can complete what its intended to on its own. Frankly, sometimes when we try and do things totally solo, we just end up hurting ourselves in the end.
Here’s the thing, God never intended for us to work alone. He intended for His work to be done by His church. His church is not you, or me, or any Christian on their own. His church is His disciples. Plural. No church is composed of only one member. Churches need many different people, and these people are all different. A church needs a pastor, but it also needs attendees. It needs youth pastors, or children’s pastors. It needs a worship team for the music, a custodian to keep it clean, and a secretary or treasurer to handle tithes. Having a church that was only pastors would be pointless – as would having a church that was only attendees. We are ALL the hands and feet of Christ. We are ALL the church of Christ. We are ALL the body of Christ. You may be more of a leg and I may be more of an arm, but we’re both just as important to the overall functionality and structure.
YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Please remember that. I honestly believe we all have times where we look at our talents, passions, or spiritual gifts and think “this is useless, I can’t do anything with this.” That’s not true. Not one of God’s plans ever took place on one power alone. Not one person is led to Christ through one spiritual gift alone. The Kingdom of God is only furthered when we each use our beautifully “incomplete powers” together to do His work in His name. You may never get to see what the seed you helped plant has sewn, but you’re just as important as the person who waters or harvests the seed. If you’re not sure how you’re supposed to use what He’s given you for His name, then ask Him. He won’t sit back and chuckle saying “that’s for me to know, and you to find out.” When you earnestly seek Him and genuinely wish to use what He’s given you for His good, He will guide you to do so.
God has given you each gift, passion, and talent you have because each one is needed by someone else, to work together with their gifts, passions, and talents in order to accomplish something. He didn’t give you anything “useless”. It wasn’t like He was filling in a “stat” chart for you, had extra points to get rid of and thought “well, I’ll just stick them here”. You were knit together in your mother’s womb with immense intent and care. In fact, every detail about you – what would make you laugh, what you would love doing, and your role in His kingdom – was planned before even your parents had been conceived. So, the next time you think you’re of no use on your own, just remember, we’re all “incomplete” in some ways – that’s why God made us to balance each other out!
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2 thoughts on “What the “Incomplete Powers” of “Charlotte” Can Tell Us”
Great piece, Emma. Serves as a great reminder that we all have different gifts which can come together. It reminds me of a passage I included in my article from Friday from 1 Corinthians 12 where Paul points out that we all have different gifts AND together, those gifts make the church work. Only together are we one body. Without the eyes, the ears, the hands of the church – the church would not function.
And maybe some of us do have the super powered gifts…I mean, there are those who could drive out demons (ex. Paul, Peter, etc) and then again, Mark 16 talks about those who can drink poisons and totally not die. So, who knows what gifts the Lord will provide!
Thanks, Matthew! Precisely what I was getting at! Each of us has different strengths and weaknesses as individuals – it takes all of these things together to make a functioning church! 🙂
Haha, yes, that’s arguably true. However, I meant more we don’t have “super powered” gifts in the sense of Marvel or DC style superpowers – telekinesis, flight, invisibility, etc. All our gifts are just “cool” in a different sense and shine in a different setting. 🙂