1 Corinthians 12
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.” (1 Corinthians 12:1-2)
Paul has been speaking to the Corinthians a lot on the things that they are getting wrong, sexual misconduct, following idols, etc etc. The NKJV even says “dumb” idols instead of “mute” idols. Paul really wanted them to get it that the lifestyle they were under before was not not one they wanted to stay in. But that their new life had so much more for them. Now he wants to talk spiritual gifts to them. One commentator defines spiritual gifts as “Gracious endowments, leading to miraculous results… these all came by the extraordinary influences of the Holy Spirit.” I love that term “gracious endowments”!
Some of the gifts that Paul mentions here are: the utterance of wisdom, the utterance of knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, ability to distinguish, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. Paul tells them that each of these gifts come from the same Spirit. That there are gifts, and there is service, and activities that are manifested by God and God is the one who empowers all of them.
All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
The Holy Spirit is the one who gives out the spiritual gifts and He is the one who decides who gets what gift.
Have you ever done one of those spiritual gifts quizzes and you didn’t like what you got so you tried to do it again and you tried to answer things a little differently so you would get another answer. I have and it’s funny usually I still end up with the same answer no matter how many answers I want to change. I have always wondered how that worked. It seems to me that most of us are not necessarily satisfied with the gift that we are given. At least not at first. I have found that as I get older and I feel that I am stepping into the gifts He has given me I really am more and more comfortable acting within those gifts. Funny, He really does know me better than I know myself.
The next section of this chapter talks about the body of the church. We believers are the body of the church.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
Have you ever stubbed your pinky toe? You know that little guy is just there. It seems like it doesn’t have a very big job to do. But you catch that thing on a piece of furniture and then you find out what importance it plays. It hurts! You will be limping around and it may turn all black and blue. You can’t wear shoes. That little part of your body can make things miserable and change things with the whole rest of your body. And then you find out it’s importance!
It seems like this is Paul’s way of saying “stay in your lane”!! He does a very good job of explaining in verses 21-26 how the body works together. We all have jobs to do and some of the jobs may seem menial like the pinky toe and some may seem to be of a higher honor than others but the bottom line is it takes all of us to do the work that Christ has for us to do. Whether you are talking about church or some ministry or the body as a whole. Not everyone could be a Billy Graham or a Beth Moore, or a Priscilla Shirer. But it takes all of us to do the work of Christ and to lead others to Christ. My calling may not be to stand in an arena and speak to thousands and that’s ok because it would probably scare me to death. But that doesn’t make the calling of the one who has taught a Sunday school class of 10-20 people for decades any less important than those who are standing in arenas or pulpits. It takes someone to set up the chairs and it takes someone to make the coffee. We just have to find what our gift is and what our calling is. And we have to realize that we are all in this together. Just like the parts of the body work together, the body of the Christ should work together too. My commentary pointed out: “Sometimes there is a part of our body that only lives to serve itself. It doesn’t contribute anything to the rest of the body. And everything it gets it uses to feed and grow itself. We call this cancer.” When one person is seeking their own glory rather than the glory of Christ, that is when the eye is saying to the ear, I have no need of you. Or the hand is saying to the dirty feet I am more important than you. This kind of cancer does not belong in the body of Christ nor His church.
“that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together, if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)
When we work like this, it works! God has appointed each of us to our gifts. The Holy Spirit will give them to us.
Oh Lord, please help us to stay in our lane! Lord, we desire the gifts that you desire to give us. Lord, we pray that as we work our way into our calling that you have for us, that we would know that we all must work together as one body, just as we pray that our bodies would work together.
Please, please please pray for the educators and the students today!