Epistle: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. 4Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
In the waters of baptism, together with God’s Word, we are promised the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our souls. God does not only give us the gift of justification (being made right before God), but also the gift of vocation (our talents that equip us to be God’s hands and feet carrying out God’s mission).
How does the Holy Spirit take hold of you and your living out your faith in daily life?
Several years ago, a group from the congregation I served spent a week in Appalachia working on homes and meeting the people of the community. Several nights during our mission trip a local speaker or entertainer would come to share with us some of the culture and stories of their community.
One night a gentleman came to share some songs and stories with us. He told us of his church that couldn’t afford to pay a minister. But that didn’t stop them from having a weekly worship service. Volunteers would lead the music and readings, and a member of the church would usually get up to preach. Often, this wasn’t planned. It was just the way they did things. If a member felt “moved by the Spirit” to get up and share a testimonial or a sermon, they were welcomed to do so. But from time to time, the speaker shared, the congregation didn’t agree that the person speaking had what needed to be shared, so the congregation would start singing a song. Right in the middle of the sermon, the congregation could “sing them down” to let that person know the rest of the congregation didn’t think well of the message.
I turned to look at my congregants gathered with me for that meeting and told them they better not be getting any ideas for when we get back to our church!
What I love about this passage is that the Holy Spirit is at work in every one of us. There are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit. And God knits it all together in a beautiful body of Christ, so that we can do great things together!
I give thanks to God for the many gifts God has given many people in the congregation I serve.
I believe the church is to be the place where we can try our gifts and serve God in a place that these gifts can be tweaked and tuned for the praise of God.
Back in a previous church, I had a young boy in the third grade that wanted to play in our praise band. His school teacher was teaching his class how to play on ukuleles. The boy was so excited about music and wanted to give it a try at church.
At first, he came to practices with his mom (designated driver) to sit in on some sessions. Over time, he became more confident, got a new electric guitar and quickly became quite good. Within a few months, he was a member of the band. He had a God-given gift. He used it. And the Body of Christ benefited from it.
What gift do you have? Want to give it a try?
Don’t worry – we won’t “sing you down.”
Let us pray: Thank you for your Holy Spirit that calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies us. Gifted by you, may we be bold in sharing them so all may come to know of your great love. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.