1 Corinthians 12, 4-7
Something to read
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;
and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
In a seminar we were told that you can often categorise churches according to their emphasis: God the Father Churches, Jesus Churches and Holy Spirit Churches. Then they asked us to identify our own church.
Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth had to address the issue of several divisions within the congregation. Sadly, one such division was caused by people emphasising the superiority of certain ‘gifts of the spirit’.
Paul responds in these verses by emphasising the idea of division by using the words ‘varieties of’, connecting them to ‘gifts’, ‘services [ie ministries]’, and ‘activities [ie God’s power at work]’.
In the same breath, Paul also brings unity into play as he emphasises that it is the ‘same Spirit’, ‘same Lord [Jesus]’ and ‘same God‘ who gives the variety of gifts.
And they are ‘for the common good’ (v7), not for personal use or glory.
This picture of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit being the source of spiritual blessings - shows us a picture of ‘unity in diversity’. Is this not a pattern that ought to be reflected in all our congregations as differing ministries and gifts work in unison?
Something to do
List the different ministries that you see in your church - make sure you include those that often go unnoticed. Name the people involved, describe how their ministries relate to each other.
Describe the ministry that you have; it may help to ask a friend to tell you what they see in you.
Something to pray
Use this song of Dave Richards in a time of reflection and prayer
For I’m building a people of power,
And I’m making a people of praise
That will move through this land by My Spirit,
And will glorify My precious name.
Build Your church, Lord,
Make us strong, Lord,
Join our hearts, Lord, through Your Son.
Make us one, Lord,
In Your Body,
In the kingdom of Your Son.
Today's contributor is the Rev Frazer Hawkes, a retired Methodist minister