30 Days in the Bible, Day 9: 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
(NOTE: I learned an important lesson about service with this passage. I learned that you should never assume you’ve done your job completely without fully and carefully checking everything. I accidentally deleted part of today’s passage, and the resulting jump made no sense at all. Here is the full passage for today’s devotional from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.)
In today’s devotional we looked at the varieties of gifts given by the Holy Spirit. It is important for us to realize the diversity in the distribution of spiritual gifts, a diversity that is necessary for all the needed ministries of the church to be done. None of us has all the gifts, and we need each other to accomplish everything the Lord has called us to do.
Yet with this diversity comes with an underlying unity. We may not all have the same gifts, but we all have the same God. Whatever we are gifted and called to do, it is to glorify the one true God. Our gifts may make us a little different form each other, but our faith makes us one.
This passage emphasizes the Trinitarian nature of God. There is one Spirit, one Lord, one God. The unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a unity of essence expressed in three Persons. God is Himself a relational God, and was before He ever created anything. This unity-in-diversity is passed on to His people, the church, to express to the world in our limited way, always pointing back to the reality of our God.
As we serve the Lord, it is important to recognize the unity of the Godhead in preparing us for service. While the Spirit gives the gifts, it is for the service of our Lord, and empowered by the Father. The Persons of the Trinity do not work in isolation, but as one, since they are one. We may not understand the mystery of the Trinity, which is beyond our human experience and capacity, but all we really need to know is that He is One, and that the essential unity of the Trinity is reflected in the unity we as Christians have in Jesus Christ.
This should also keep us from using our gifts for personal benefit or profit. When we realize that our goal is to draw closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to help them draw closer to us and to each other as well, we will use our gifts in an appropriate way. Instead of trying to figure out who has the most gifts or the best gifts (as the Corinthian church did), we will spend our time figuring out how to use the gifts God gave us to build each other up. In doing so, we will show the world the truth about our God and about how He uses us for His glory.