When I was a boy, I received a Christmas gift from my aunt in New York. When I opened it, to my dismay, I found a bright red corduroy shirt. It was a nice shirt, given in love. But I was hoping for a toy. Sometimes we do not like the gifts we receive. Likewise, we are not always the best judge of what we should be given.
The same is sometimes true of the gifts that God gives us. We may set our hearts on spiritual gifts that He has not chosen to give us. Or we may dismiss the ones we already possess. Mistaken thinking about spiritual gifts in Corinth ranged from inferiority to conceit. Some questioned their place in the body of Christ because they did not have one of the more prominent gifts (vv. 15–16). Others looked down on those who possessed gifts thinking they were less significant than their own (v. 21).
Both perspectives fail to recognize the two foundational principles of spiritual gifts. First, the same Holy Spirit is at work in all the spiritual gifts (vv. 4, 11). Second, the aim of the gifts is not to elevate those who receive them, but “the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (v. 7). While every Christian receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit does not use every individual in precisely the same way.
The most important lesson we learn from the way that God has equipped the church is not about the things that the Spirit enables us to do. It has to do with the way the Spirit has knit the members of the body of Christ together so that “its parts should have equal concern for each other” (v. 25).
>> Are you unsure of your spiritual gifts? Ask yourself what natural abilities you possess. Consider, what kind of things you enjoy doing. Now ask the Lord to show you how you can use these for Christ.
If You wanted us to work independently, You would have given us each spiritual gift in equal measure. Instead, You have distributed the gifts among us to make us interdependent. We praise You for Your unifying design!