Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Key verses: (4-5) “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; . . . “
Reflection: Remember that old saying: Variety is the spice of life? It comes from a poem written by William Cowper in 1785 called “The Task”. The full line reads: “Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor.” Cowper is also known for his hymnody. He wrote the Christian hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” which is titled “O God, in a Mysterious Way” in the hymnbook we use in our Sanctuary worship services. It’s interesting that we still hear this expression about variety. It reminds us that we are all different, and that is what makes life interesting. Most of us agree that diversity is good until we have to try and get along with each other.
In today’s scripture passage, the Apostle Paul is addressing the issue of spiritual gifts with the church in Corinth. This church was very diverse and in his letters he tried to head off divisions between them, because when it comes to spiritual gifts it is important not to “grade” some as better than others. Every follower of Jesus has been given a gift that allows him or her to contribute to the service and activity of the church community. Even though it is human nature to rank order things in our lives, Paul stresses that all gifts are activated by God and therefore of equal value to building up the whole community. If we were all the same, think how boring life would be! How much less we would be able to contribute to our church, community and world. The gifts Paul mentions are: the utterance of wisdom; the utterance of knowledge; faith; gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. These are just a few of the ways the Spirit of God manifests itself in our lives. There are many more gifts than the ones that are named in this letter – hospitality, compassion, administration, and generosity of spirit are some of the gifts we often see lived out here at our church. When the Holy Spirit imparts these gifts it is humbling. God entrusts the ministry of Jesus Christ to us. I hope we will continue to celebrate how God is working in each of our lives for the good of others because – variety is the very spice of life.
Together we can do much more than if we are apart.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for giving us gifts by the power of Spirit to serve others in Jesus’ name. Help us to celebrate one another’s gifts instead of envying them. Guide us as we use the spiritual gifts you have given us to build up the body of Christ and grow in our faith. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].