#DailyDevotion You Have Been Called To Serve
1Co 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; (5) and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; (6) and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. (7) To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (8) For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, (9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, (10) to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. (11) All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
At least in my lifetime there has been a lot of interest in the ‘spirituals’ in verse one. In verse four they are referenced as gifts, in verse five service and verse six as works, and in verse seven a manifestation of the Spirit. In Corinth, the problem, the reason why Paul is writing about it is because some people were using their gifts, service, works and manifestations of the Spirit to laud it over their fellow believers maybe, as even today, to say if you didn’t have a particular one or manifesting the ones they were looking for you didn’t have faith and were not a Christian.
So Paul’s reference here is not to get us go and take spiritual inventories. Indeed the purpose is quite the opposite. So what is he after here? Humility and unity. For while he lists of different manifestations of the Spirit we also see another theme building. First, he invokes the Holy Trinity. These gifts has the ‘same’ Spirit. The service has the ‘same’ Lord. The works are all empowered by the ‘same’ God. Same, same, same. Spirit, Lord, God. Whatever we have going spiritually, it is the Triune God who is the author and source. It is not of ourselves. If it is not of ourselves then we have nothing to boast about. Boasting of ourselves and judging one another based on gifts, service and works of God go against why we are given then in the first place. They are given, if they are given, to be of service to our fellow Christians. They are given to build up and strengthen the body of Christ. Any manifestation of them is to make more certain our fellows faith in Jesus not less.
And so the Spirit is the one who chooses what spiritual thing we may have, if any. It is the Spirit who apportions gifts, service and works of God to be done in the congregation. While you may certainly ask the Spirit for a particular gift, it is up to him who gets what, when, where and how and for what purpose. Anyone saying you need to have any particular manifestation of the Spirit to be a real Christian is teaching falsely and should be corrected. For the only manifestation of the Spirit that is common to all Christians was spoken of in the previous verses, the confession of faith that Jesus is Lord, the God of the Old Testament in the flesh.
Now while it is the Spirit who apportions what sorts of gifts, service and works anyone in any congregation may have that does not prevent you from asking, “How can I be of service to my fellow believers here”? If and when you see a need in your congregation and you are able to help fill that need go ahead and do so. Maybe you can even help someone else to help fill that need that they too may be built up in the body of Christ. For the words service and works are there to call us to such things as we dwell in Christ’s body. It is pleasing to him that we submit ourselves to such things and that is the example he has given us when he washed his disciples feet. Let us be busy in serving one another that we don’t have time to worry about what someone else is doing or not doing. For it is the same Spirit, Lord and God who has called both of you to be part the Lord’s body.
Heavenly Father, grant us faith that we may humble ourselves to see how we may be of service to our fellow Christians, particularly in the place you have called us to serve as your people and empower us to do so. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.