When I was a new believer and someone mentioned spiritual gifts to me, I imagined twilight zone music in the background as I did wild things for Jesus! And YES, you can pray for me! 28 years later it is still one of the most controversial and misunderstood teachings among believers. And nearly 2000 years ago they had the same problem.
“Now about spiritual gifts…” – Paul continues to answer the questions these believers had. He begins by giving some background on spiritual gifts. He reminds them that before they believed in Jesus, they used to believe all kinds of crazy supernatural stuff: chants, mutilation, Nirvana, penance, etc… - don’t be led back into these!
Paul then defines GOD as the source: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” How cool to see the trinity involved here!
Then we see the purpose of these gifts: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” Spiritual gifts make the Holy Spirit known & clear and benefit the church & God’s peeps! Paul then goes on to list some of these gifts and their varieties. Whether we believe all of these still exist or not, we know that at one time they all did and God used them all to show Himself.
In verses 12-31 Paul makes three points to believers regarding gifts:
1. We All are part of the Body of Christ: (12-13) One body, many parts = unity in diversity. I mean come on, the human body works so incredibly as one unit. a GREAT illustration! The Corinthian church was divided where it should have been unified (“I follow Paul, I follow…) and unified where it should have been divided (they all wanted the “showy” gifts).
2. We All Have Different Roles: (14-20) Yep – and many of these believers were unhappy with their gifts – they were envious (Proverbs 14:30)! They all wanted the gift of tongues because it got all the attention – ha! The idea is that if we were all eyes, how would we hear, etc… Every part is important and Paul points out that “…God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” We are not to question God’s wisdom. Imagine a body controlled by numerous wills – talk about a crazy seizure!
3. We All Need each Other: (21-31) Independence may be the American way, but INTERdependence is God’s way! Self-sufficiency is an idea from the devil! God wants us to remember we need each other! And hey, this passage even says “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it…” Why? “…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” Cool God Stuff!
*Spiritual gifts are different than natural talents. We can be good at basketball, math, etc… but those are not what Paul is addressing. God gave each one of us at least one spiritual gift to use for Him! Have you discovered what yours is? Maybe it’s one of the ones mentioned in 8-10 or vs 28. Other lists are found in Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Peter 4:11. If you don’t know, ask your parents or spiritual leaders to help you find out! Then USE your gift(s) for Jesus!
*Do you see yourself as a VITAL part of the church body? God Does! So ask how you can serve in your church if you don’t currently have a regular ministry!
*Do you wish you had a different gift? I’ve done this one, trying to be like other youth pastors, and failed big time. Why? Because God made me to be Mr Bill, not someone else!~ UBU (You be you!)
*Do you truly see your need for other believers? I totally love the body of Christ! I need worship leaders (I only play the iPod), I need a senior pastor (a Paul in my life), I need my AIM & A-E teams because we can accomplish more together with students than I can on my own! I could go on & on & on & on….. Thank a fellow believer today for who they are and what they add to your church body!