12 For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink. 14 Indeed, the body is not one part but many.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14
On Saturday I watched one of my favorite football teams line up time after time, with players executing precision routes, moving the ball down the field in perfectly orchestrated plays and crossing the goal line to achieve their objective. With this verse fresh on my mind, I marveled at the diversity of the players and the various gifts that came into play. There were monstrous linemen, tall thin receivers with great hands who could turn on a dime, stocky running backs who ran low and hard built to take a pounding, a quarterback with the ability to read defenses and thread a needle with the football, and even a very tiny running back who had the ability to disappear behind those big linemen and create big gains. Every one of these players was born with special gifts unique to them, and through desire and effort had found the perfect fit on the team. One person on the field with incredible athletic gifts could do nothing alone, but many combining various gifts were accomplishing great things together as a team.
Early Jewish believers were hesitant to share the Good News with the Greeks or any others, and in many cases they felt superior to other races or different social classes. Paul uses the imagery of the body to describe how many parts work together, how no one part is better and all are needed. Paul points out that whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, once we are “baptized by one Spirit,” we are made to “drink of one Spirit.”
He goes on in this chapter to identify some of our different spiritual gifts. “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
We are all called to serve in some capacity. Personally, I am an obnoxiously energetic happy early morning person who can’t wait to interact with people. Pre-COVID, my assignment as a greeter for the first service was the highlight of my week, because my gifts were perfect for that role in our church. As I greeted our pastors and worship leaders, I knew I could not do what they do, but my role was important also when first-time guests were visiting or a member just needed a smile and warm “Good morning!” Several times I assisted in the nursery, and although I consider myself a decent parent and grandparent, I realized quickly it was not my gift. Parking lot attendants and audio-visual people feel like I do about greeting, knowing their gifts are being utilized and bringing them the same great joy and happiness.
We are not just individuals. We are a living, breathing part of a great masterpiece, being moved and guided so we can effectively direct others toward His glory. All of our unique and diverse gifts are used constantly to strengthen the whole body. Your unique gifts may not be so obvious to you, but they are there, and they are very much needed.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- PLACE is an intentional process that helps you discover who you are in Christ. PLACE can show you how to engage your gifts and abilities as you strive to live on mission in your everyday life. PLACE will also help you value and relate to the qualities and characteristics of others. Through a workshop experience and a one-on-one Connection Session, you’ll learn to apply your abilities in ministry and use them to develop a purposeful mission statement and plan. (From our website)
- COVID has created many new obstacles, but at the same time many new opportunities to serve. What are some of those opportunities where your gift might be valuable?
Make a special treat together as a family. (If you feel comfortable, consider making extras as well to share with neighbors.) Consider making something that requires several simple steps, such as one of the following:
Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Crackers
Give each member of the family a separate task to complete, such as crumbling the cake mix, or stirring together the mix and frosting. As you work, comment that everyone has a job to do that is different from everyone else’s job, and that when we work together, we get a delicious outcome!
You might also comment on things that you have noticed each member of your family does well. Explain what benefit they bring to the family by doing that thing well. Point out that this is also true in God’s family. When a person becomes a Christian, God gives them a spiritual gift—something that they can do really well, that benefits others. Talk as a family about some of the spiritual gifts you have noticed in action by believers at your campus. Thank God for giving believers spiritual gifts!
Pray for Christian businesspeople living and traveling in cultures full of spiritually lost people around the world. Pray that they will understand the opportunity they have for gospel impact and that they will boldly engage in gospel conversations with friends and co-workers.