Scripture: “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed.” 1 Cor 12:1
Observation: This could be the most controversial subject (outside of God’s Sovereignty in Election and Man’s Sovereignty in free will) that I have encountered in my last 50 years.
Analysis: What is it about Spiritual Gifts that causes a smorgasbord attitude across the whole of modern Christendom?
First word that comes to mind is: Excesses.
It looks like Paul recognized the excess exercised by the Corinthians. They were like kids with a new toy: everything around their life revolved around that new toy. I recognize that this experience isn’t just about children. I take on a new hobby and, boom, it is everywhere in my life. I want to golf, and for months my clubs are in the trunk of my car. I want to fish, and I have a rod and tackle box close at hand—until I tire of it.
Paul sees this and brings up mature perspective: Gifts are not toys or hobbies. Gifts are tools and has purpose in the Body of Christ.
Unfortunately, the subject of Gifts has fallen into controversy—probably due to excessive, demonstrative practices (See what I can do?) or fear of demonstrative practices (That is so weird. I cannot believe that is decent and in order).
In the first example, raucous, loud, etc. meetings ae celebrated as worship. In the second, “where is the quiet, respectful and reflective environment needed to piously worship?”
I remind myself that the Gifts are tools for the health of the local church. While they need to be employed, I candidly don’t know how just yet. How can Gifts get maturely mainstreamed into local Church life? Note: emphasis on the maturely and then mainstreamed.
Paul doesn’t get much into further detail other than what he has written. He does encourage wanting Gifts: “But earnestly desire the higher gifts…” (1 Cor 12:31), and “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gives, especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Cor 14:1) And without missing a beat, he adds, “But all things should be done DECENTLY and in ORDER.” (1 Cor 14:40)
Spiritual Giftings are functional. According to the Word of God, they are a part of a healthy local Church. Not everyone sees it that way, but Scripture is clear.
Now, how to do it?
Prayer: Father, Your Gifts to the Church…well, to a lot of folks, they are weird. But, because they are Yours, testified to by Your Word, and for the Church, and to be earnestly pursued and desired, how then are they resisted or practiced so haphazardly? Help me not to let the deposit in me atrophy through non-use. AMEN.