This week at Common Ground was our first week back from Spring Break. After watching a video from the trip, we took a look 1 Corinthians 12. At first glance, it seems like the entire chapter is dedicated to understanding spiritual gifts. A deeper look, however, reveals much more. Paul was concerned with unity in the Corinthian church. That theme is evidenced throughout the letter, and this chapter is no exception. His need to address the issue indicates that people at the church in Corinth were looking at giftedness as a way to separate positions of honor in the church, sowing division among the members. Paul emphasizes that all gifts are from the same God and intended to benefit the whole church. In that regard there shouldn’t be any honor or shame associated with any spiritual gift, we’re all equal. His message in verses 24-25 is that God has gifted people so that there would be no division, but rather equality of care for people. This hearkens back all the way to 11:18 where Paul points out that Corinth is a divided church. At the end of the chapter he point to the offices of the church–apostles, prophets and teachers–as the one thing that establishes any kind of real hierarchy. Giftedness is good, but we are all gifted. The gifts come from God and are to be used for the benefit of the whole church. That’s what matters.
Questions we need to ask ourselves:
- How am I gifted?
- Am I using my gifts to benefit the church or myself?
- Do I seek to honor/shame others based on giftedness?
- Does my attitude bring division or unity to the body of Christ?