1 Cor. 12:28- 31 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
Paul continues his letter to Corinth and discusses the importance of being a member of the body of Christ. He makes it clear that for the church body to be effective, we need all the parts. He uses examples of actual body parts to make his point. He then discusses various gifts, such as teaching, prophesy, etc. and shares that not everyone has the same gifts. He also ranks the gifts in order of honor.
I have a confession. Jordan Spieth is a better golfer than I am. Stephen Curry shoots the basketball better than I do as well. My guess is that Jordan Spieth practices golf much more than I do and Stephen Curry practices basketball much more than I do. Even if I practiced as much as they did, I probably would never be as good as them. They have unique physical talents given to them by God. Just because I can’t hit a golf ball like Jordan Spieth doesn’t mean I can enjoy golfing. Even though I am old and can’t jump as high as I used to, I still enjoy playing basketball. The difference in the sports example is that I am happy being mediocre in golf and basketball. I know I will never be great at these games and that they are just games. I do them for fun. Spiritual gifts, however, are to be done for a purpose. His purpose. We all are given spiritual gifts by God. Many times, however, I want to be good at God’s gifts without practice. For example, I can sit and listen to a great sermon by Andy Stanley or Jason Smith and think “wow, I wish I could teach like that”. Usually their messages are simple. Their words are not complex. But they have a style and a delivery that I don’t have. And I won’t have unless I start teaching. Another example is around Discipleship. I can’t be expected to show someone how to be a disciple unless I am a disciple to others. In this chapter, Paul makes it clear that not everyone can or will have each and every spiritual gift from God. He does state that we should desire to have more spiritual gifts. He also makes it clear that: • We are all valuable to the church. Everyone can contribute in an important way to the church. • The church is a body, Christ is the head. I must be in God’s will and involved in the body of Christ to realize God’s will and to make the biggest impact. • I should not judge or compare my value based on others gifts or perceived value. I should judge my own value based on what I am doing with the gifts God has given me. I may never preach a fantastic sermon. But I will try. I may never be called a fantastic teacher but I will try. I may never be the best apostle but with prayer and a purpose I will try. I may never be considered the best at using any of God’s spiritual gifts but I will continue to pray that God will use me for His purpose. I will continue to seek his will for my life. If God wants me to be the little toe on the body of Christ, that is what I will be for His purpose. I have been given gifts and I function in the church body in a specific way. I cannot compare myself to others with certain gifts, I just need to do what God wants me to do and use my gifts to His glory.
Father, help me to realize the gifts that you have given to me. Help me to function in the body with your purpose in mind, not mine. Help me to be satisfied with how you want to use me for your glory not how I want to be used.