Read This Week: 1 Corinthians 12

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit to form one body. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many.
– 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NIV

The season of giving and receiving gifts just passed, but remains fresh in our minds. Everyone enjoys receiving a gift. Those who would suggest otherwise are not being honest. To receive a gift is to get something from another person, and that is a special thing.

However, our first thought when we receive a gift is probably not centered on how we can use it for the benefit of others. We tend to hold tightly to the gift we receive and only think about how it can be put to use for our purposes. We fail to realize the joy, fulfillment, and blessing found in using a gift we receive to help or be of service to someone else.

Paul addresses this idea with the church in 1 Corinthians 12. Some members misunderstood and saw their spiritual gifts from God as something for personal gain and use. They regarded what the Lord had given them through His Spirit with pride and exclusiveness. Verse 7 directly corrects this attitude: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” In other words, when it comes to the gifts, abilities, resources, and talent that God has given us, it is not all for one, it is one for all.

It is not just about one person and their gifts. It takes many different parts to make up a body. All are essential for health and wholeness. The parts are different, but yet they function toward the same unified purpose. Paul writes, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” No one, and their gifts, is elevated above the others. The body needs all of its different parts and functions to live, grow, and be of optimal use.

We need each other. Paul said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Each member needs the other members and no one can afford to become independent or function apart from the others. When a part of the human body operates on its own, the entire body can become unhealthy and even die. Just like the physical body, the community of faith cannot say to anyone, “We don’t need you!” Everyone is needed, valued, and necessary for the whole to be successful.

God’s desire is for us to come together, work together and use our gifts for the good of the community. We are a powerful force when we have unity to achieve the mission. We become unstoppable for the kingdom when we cease competing and comparing our gifts and start cooperating. We are exactly what God intended us to be when we realize it is not all for one, but one for all.

17 Comments

  1. Ken on January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

    One of the many benefits of being a Christian is that you don’t ever have to be alone. God is always with you and He has given you a family of God to share your life with. Being a Christian is so great!

    • Jason on January 16, 2020 at 9:49 am

      This is one of the great relational truths about God and about the community of faith that He formed. Jesus said that he will never leave us or forsake us and that He is always with us and His presence is also seen and experienced in His people. It is such a blessing to know we don’t have to do this alone and with God, we never are.

      • Ken on January 18, 2020 at 9:34 am

        So true Jason. So many people have been hurt by Christians and have chosen to go it alone. It’s so sad that that happened. It’s not good when God’s love, concern and understanding for others is not represented to others well by Christians. It’s not good to respond to these challenges by alienating yourself from God’s people. God wants His best for you and big part of that is being engaged with the family of God. You have a lot to offer others and a lot of what you will receive from God, comes through God’s people.

        If you have been hurt and want to talk about it, God has help and healing for you. Please email ken@reachchurch.org and we can have a confidential conversation. God loves you so much and He has so much more for you.

  2. Samuel on January 15, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Today at our men’s lunch as we read through chapter 12, God drew me to verse 27: “Now you (collectively are Christ’s body and individually) you are members of it. Each part severally and distinct (each with his own place and function). What God was saying to me was, “As you come together with with the family of God, each of you is given a place in the body. Each of you hold a certain place. Whether it is a pastor, leader, or candle holder, I hold you in the same regard. So stand strong in whatever it may be. Know that you are apart of and supporting the body of Christ.”

    And what that means to me is that He has created us all as equals to honor Him. If we hold each other in the same light as we hold Him, we are doing exactly what He has intended us to do.

    • Jason on January 16, 2020 at 10:11 am

      This is a strong line: If we hold each other in the same light as we hold Him, we are doing exactly what He has intended us to do. Diversity with equality among the members of Christ’s body is exactly what God intended. In fact, it fulfills the will of God for the Church.

      It is God who gave us these gifts and designed each person and He has a perfect plan for each individual and for the Church as a whole. He desires for us to honor Him and that plan by regarding one another equally with love and maturity as we use our gifts to serve Him and each other.

  3. Ken on January 18, 2020 at 7:54 am

    We just returned from hanging with our Church Family in Hawaii and we sure do miss them. The family of God is what it is all about! On our journey in life with God, He gives us certain people who really make a difference in your life and our Pastor Randy is one of them. His son Rick is a chip off the old block, so talented and full of God’s love and concern for people. We are so proud of him. Our Pastor’s wife is the best, so gifted from God and has always been there for us when we needed her. It is such a blessing to be there for her and her ohana in return. Having a family of God, all of the Pastors, all of the people, it is one of the greatest pleasures of the Christian life. Thank you God for our family. Our Church Family in North Carolina is so connected with our Church Family in Hawaii and that is the way God has intended it to be. A true blessing for everyone. So whatever you do, do this: get connected with God and His people. It is the best thing you will ever do in your life!

    • Jason on January 22, 2020 at 4:53 pm

      I’m blessed to hear about your time in Hawaii and how that community is connected to your community in North Carolina. I never cease to be amazed at the unifying and connecting power of the Holy Spirit and how following Jesus brings people together from all backgrounds, cultures, races, and creeds. There is nothing like it on earth.

  4. Heidi on January 18, 2020 at 9:43 am

    1 Corinthians 12:4-7 says, “There are different kinds of gifts. But the same Holy Spirit gives them all. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways to work. But the same God is giving all of them to people. The Holy Spirit gives each person a special gift to use for the benefit of everyone.”

    What God was saying to me and you is that there is a purpose for every gift He gives us. To help people to know Him and be apart of what He is doing here on earth. He wants everyone to make it to heaven with Him, those who Love Him.

    He is the best Father and loves to bless us with the best gifts so we can express His love to others. All gifts come from God, people don’t realize that they are from Him, and are for their good. To help people to know Him and know that He loves us so much.

    • Jason on January 22, 2020 at 5:06 pm

      Heidi, I appreciate you shining a light on the practical and most impactful use of our gifts. I have the privilege of teaching a Church Ministries and Leadership course at the college level and on the section of spiritual gifts, I always like to point out to my students that one of the principal functions of spiritual gifts is to strengthen others.

      We see Paul write about this here, in Romans 12 and it is further reinforced by him in 1 Thessalonians 3:2 where he mentions “strengthening in the faith.” When knowing, praying over and using our spiritual gifts for Christ, we always have to remember that one of God’s main reasons for them is to strengthen or build up others as His kingdom is advanced.

      This is a great truth that you point out. As we faithfully help, serve and teach other people, in the process, they are being built up by our faithfulness to using our gifts. That is why we can’t withhold the gifts because others could be negatively impacted by it. Or as you said, God blesses us with “the best gifts so we can express His love to others. To help people to know Him and know that He loves us so much.”

      • Heidi on January 23, 2020 at 10:20 am

        Thank you, Jason, for always blessing everyone with encouragement and God’s knowledge. You’re so amazing and I love to hear God through you!

        • Jason on January 24, 2020 at 12:17 pm

          Thank you for your kind, encouraging words, Heidi! I love talking about and hearing God through you all. It is a true blessing to be connected to you guys!

  5. Jeri Centers on January 18, 2020 at 9:50 am

    God was speaking to me on Wednesday at the ladies’ bible study and was saying, “Your spiritual gifts, I have given to you and in them, you need to put all your trust. I have given you strengths, different skills and you must all seek His will for them.

    What that means to me is that God has given us gifts, according to His design, to use for His glory through your life.

    • Jason on January 22, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      That is an incredible reality, isn’t it? To know that the supreme God of the universe has given us all spiritual gifts, according to our design and how he made us, to use for His glory and the good of others which is also by design. Knowing that it is difficult to not take joy in using our gifts.

  6. Javaid on January 19, 2020 at 3:20 am

    The message I received from God is as follows:

    “You are all my body, my collective. Every human regardless of stature, race, position, or otherwise is part of Me, and Me part of you. You see that there are many different types of My children, with different attributes. Like Paul is saying, one does not trump or supersede another. In fact they all work harmoniously just as the human body needs feet to walk, but a mouth to speak. Its important to know that there is a balance and a divine connection. Find the balance, the love, and put ego aside to focus and internalize what the body of Christ brings from all levels”

    We all work harmoniously with God to create a fluid channel of Love. It is when we achieve that divine connection and focus, that we find peace.

    • Jason on January 22, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      I appreciate how you pointed toward diversity with harmony in the body and in the use of spiritual gifts, Javaid. This is relevant and vital. No one should compare and contrast themselves with anyone else because each person is different and unique and each one is important. Paul uses the metaphor of the body to illustrate the point about each part being equally important in their diversity. We don’t walk on our hands and we don’t eat with our feet and we can’t see with our ears, yet each one serves a harmonious purpose that brings glory to God and good to other people.

      I especially appreciated this line from your comment: Find the balance, the love, and put ego aside to focus and internalize what the body of Christ brings from all levels. Putting ego aside for love and the greater purpose of our gifting is so key. I feel like there is a tendency today for the sensational or glamorized gifts to be magnified or valued over others. The gifts that put people on the platform or in the spotlight. But the Scriptures oppose this and teach that diversity does not suggest inferiority or place qualitative value on certain gifts. At the end of the day, God doesn’t make mistakes when he places gifts on his people. I appreciate you articulating this and I hope you have a chance to do so in person to others. It is so important to know this truth.

  7. Kathy Ellington on January 21, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    In reading 1st Corinthians 12, this was what I heard from God. Do not be ignorant of spiritual gifts. Don’t be ignorant about the second coming of my son, Jesus. There is a diversity of gifts, ministries, and activities, but I am the same God doing the work through them. I display and pour out my miraculous power in different ways through these gifts. My Holy Spirit is always present in you, but sometimes My presence is more apparent, than at other times.

    You are to have faith and trust Me in all circumstances. My gifts are distributed as I will them to be. The giftedness is for My glory and My purposes. It is not connected to Christian maturity. I can grant spiritual gifts in a moment as I will. You the believer must accept them with faith. The purpose of these gifts is the building up of the body of My son, Jesus Christ, and in my believers. You are all spirit baptized into one body with many members.

    The body must have different parts and gifts to work together. Every member is equally important. You should care for one another. The gifts are ways you can express and receive love from Me and love to one another. What this says to me is that we can all be useful in different ways and God blesses us with different gifts and abilities. I don’t need to waste these gifts God has blessed me with. He will use me if I let Him.

    • Jason on January 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      There is so much truth and wisdom packed into your comment, Kathy! Thank you for sharing and expressing what the Lord laid on your heart. This was a line that really spoke to me: “There is a diversity of gifts, ministries, and activities, but I am the same God doing the work through them. I display and pour out my miraculous power in different ways through these gifts.”

      I think this statement and reflection of the Scriptures really ties in both the diversity of the gifts and the unity of the Body in the expression of those gifts. They all come from the same source and are empowered through the same Spirit and fellowship comes through the same baptism. As you said, we should all regard each other and our spiritual gifts in that way and thus work together for the glory of God and the good of people in a more effective, Christ-honoring manner.

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