Spiritual Gifts that Unite

You may remember a few years ago when Snoopy, the lovable beagle in the Peanuts cartoon, had his left leg broken. Hundreds wrote letters to Snoopy or sent sympathy cards. Snoopy himself philosophized about his plight one day while perched on top of his doghouse and looking at … More

Diversity

Paul reminds us that the gifts are given to unite us in our ministry in the one body and for the good of the whole church. The Holy Spirit bestows these gifts “as He wills” and not as we will (vv. 12-14).  No Christian should ever complain about his or her gifts. We are many members in one body, ministering to each other.

In the body there is a diversity of gifts. There is a tendency among Christians for some people to magnify the “sensational” gifts. Some believers feel very guilty because they possess gifts that do not put them in the limelight. It is this attitude that Paul is opposed to and is addressing in this passage.  Paul illustrates his point by comparing the different parts of the human body to the different parts of the church (vv. 15-20). Each member needs the other members, and no member can afford to become independent. No member can say “I have no need of thee” (v. 21). When a part of the human body becomes independent, you have a problem that often leads to sickness and  death.

Some parts of the body seem to receive more attention and exposure than others, while there are other parts of the body that are never noticed at all (vv. 22-23). In a healthy human body, the various members cooperate and even help each other when a crisis occurs. Diversity leads to unity when the members care for each other; but diversity leads to disunity when members compete with one another. If one member suffers, it affects every member. If one member is healthy, it helps the others to be strong. In other words, unless gifts are used in a spirit of love, they are of little value. Divisions and alienation of feelings should never happen in the body of Christ (vv. 24-26).

Application

I must never look down on those who seem unimportant, and I should not be jealous of others who have impressive gifts. I should use the gifts I have been given and encourage others to use theirs.

I Corinthians 12:12-26 (English Standard Version)


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