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.