God Works Through Every Gift
Good parents give gifts to all their children, excluding none. Thoughtful parents select appropriate gifts for each child to match their stage, aptitudes, and character. If we care for our children and love them without favoritism, we will give to each one what is fitting at any given time to meet his or her unique needs and desires. And often the best gifts are ones that can, while owned by one child, then be enjoyed by the whole family.
Our heavenly Father operates in the same way. He gives gifts to all His people—generously, lavishly, and purposefully.
Three verses in 1 Corinthians 12 confirm to us God’s generosity to all His children:
• “It is the same God who empowers” all kinds of gifts and service and activities “in everyone” (v 6, emphasis added).
• “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (v 7, emphasis added).
• Every spiritual gift is “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each individually as he wills” (v 11, emphasis added).
Like a good parent, God gives gifts to all His children, all for the good of Christ’s body, the church family.
Sometimes, though, untaught by our Bibles and unguided by the Spirit, we take the view that the people who really count are those who possess certain gifts—whatever those gifts might be, in whatever given context. This elitism leads to defeatism: those without the “privileged” gifts feel they have no meaningful contribution to make.
We must therefore be very clear on the basics of spiritual gifts. Who gives them? God. Who gets them? All believers. Spiritual gifts are not reserved for a chosen few; they are the privilege of the whole Christian family. Our gifts differ, but we all have them, and every gift is good, necessary, and integral to the life of the body. Each one is given for the “common good,” as 1 Corinthians 12:7 puts it.
Instead of wondering about what we haven’t received, being jealous of what someone else has been given, or wishing we could exchange our gift, God wants us to enjoy and make use of what He has kindly provided to us. “As each has received a gift,” says Peter, “use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” As God’s child, you are a recipient of God’s grace. He has given you abilities and opportunities. He calls you, in the strength He supplies, to steward that grace for the fame of Christ’s name and the good of His family. So consider: What are the gifts He has given you? Have you thanked Him? And how might you use those gifts to serve your church? Remember, God-given gifts are most enjoyed when they are used for the good of the family.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
One Body with Many Members
12For 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. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves4 or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
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