1 Corinthians 12; 2 Kings 6:1-7:2; Jonah 1
One of the tragicomic facets of the Christian life is when people argue over spiritual gifts – especially in regard to whose gift is greater. The Corinthian Church, which can be highlighted as an example of how NOT to be a church, had those kinds of discussions and those with the miraculous gifts tended to look down on those with mundane gifts. Paul reminded them, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all….” (1 Corinthians 12:7) He continued with a list of possible gifts probably provided by the Corinthians who listed what was happening in their church. It’s likely that no list of the gifts in the Bible is either complete or final. As God has worked through the ages times, technology and people have changed and God has equipped people in His kingdom to do the jobs that are necessary to draw people to Christ. There are three things to remember about spiritual gifts. First, they are a manifestation of the Spirit living inside of us. If we are not following the leadership and the guidance of the Holy Spirit – remember we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit – it will be hard for us to recognize and practice the spiritual gift God has given us. And that really is the second point – gifts are given to each of us. All of us have been entrusted with a gift or gifts from God so that His work on earth will be done. The gift, or gifts, is simply God’s Spirit working in and through us. So it’s possible that gifts may change. Finally, the gifts are given to benefit all. Our gifts, when used properly, should cause the church to grow spiritually and numerically. That could be singing in the choir or congregation; it could be teaching a class; it could be making sure that things are done just right. Gifts are designed to be a solution from God dealing with the problems of growing Christians and reaching people who need to have their relationship with God restored. If we argue about them or get arrogant because our gift is better than yours we have lost the understanding that God had when He gifted us. Let’s use the gifts and calling of God to build each other up and reach others for Jesus.
Dear Lord, You have placed me in my church for a reason. You have given me gifts to use to help Your church grow spiritually as inividual members seek You, and numerically as we show others Your goodness and mercy. Help me to use Your gifts with humility and thoughtfulness. Work through me for Your glory.