A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 1 Corinthians 12:7
This short verse contains three incredibly important messages. First of all, the spiritual abilities that we have are a gift from God. They are an expression of his love and generosity and so when we identify a gift, whether in ourselves or someone else, our first response should be to give thanks to God. This is an important point because so often we focus attention on the receiver of the gift rather than the giver. That clearly happened in Corinth where people were strutting around with great pride because of the spiritual gifts that they had received. This was causing great confusion and division in the church and would have been totally avoided if they had kept their focus on God, the giver of their gifts.
The second point is that every one of us is gifted. The way in which we often use the term ‘gifted’ might suggest that only a few people have a gift. We are told about gifted guitarists, singers or artists and are left feeling that we missed out somewhere! Paul, however, makes it plain that everyone has a God-given gift. Every gift is different, but no one has been left out.
The third point is that gifts are given so that we can help one another. The church in Corinth got into a muddle on many issues, and they clearly made a complete mess of spiritual gifts. People were bragging about their gifts and using them in a way that was deeply damaging for the church. They needed to learn that gifts were given so that the whole church could be blessed and not in order to feed the ego of the gifted person.
Spiritual gifts are a wonderful blessing from God but, in common with all of God’s gifts, they need to be handled in the right way. Just like money, sex and power they can either be a blessing or a curse. It is our responsibility to ensure that we keep our eyes fixed on God the giver and that we use spiritual gifts to build up the Church.
In what way does your own spiritual gift help to build the Church?
Lord God, thank you for the gift that you have given to me. Help me to use it well to bring encouragement and help to others. Amen