1 Corinthians 12:1
Now about the gifts of the spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
We all have studied them, taken a quiz cross-referencing our moments of satisfaction, with our natural talents and abilities. We know there is a difference between what we are good at, and what we are ordained to accomplish. We know they are the key to unlock the secrete that will lead us to the specific calling on our lives. We read 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Peter 4, Ephesians 4, and dwell in the comfort of purpose and direction and being in a small way, a part of something much bigger.
For as one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
So why is it you ask, that the church is always struggling to find people to serve on this committee or teach that Sunday school class or just plow the parking lot? If we are deigned to work as a well oiled machine then why the need for committees and votes? When my eyes want to know the sound of the blue bird they don’t hold a meeting to formally request the ears to listen. When my hearts longs to hold my children it doesn’t need a petition to request my arms to gather up those I love.
Now don’t take this the wrong way I love my church and we have lots of wonderful members serving and my family is truly blessed to attend there. But this is a common struggle for any organization relying on the coming together of individuals, to accomplish a common purpose. “But this is Gods plan and he is the one who worked it out in the fabrics of our being” I ask myself, “If we are all gifted to compliment the body of Christ, then it should be smooth sailing…. Shouldn’t it?”
But that is not always the case. We long to belong so we roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Bringing that casserole or taking the day to swing a hammer at the work bee. We teach, we organize, we clean, we play piano, we get burnt out and we retire to the pews for a season. Till a friends asks for a hand and we just cant bare to say no one more time and it starts all over again.
But that is because we are missing the whole point! You see we have studied Spiritual Gifts and jumped from page to page in our topic study, but I forgot a very important connection. Vital to the effective function in the body of Christ and to the enjoyment of our service to our church. 1 Corinthians 13 comes right after 1 Corinthians 12…
1 Corinthians 12:31
Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
He has railed on about all the ways the body of Christ and the church has been equipped to function in the last 30 verses. Teachers, prophets, apostles, those that work miracles and have gifts of healing and speaking in tongues. The resources available to this congregation are amazing! But yet, there is still a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
As faith with out works is dead, Gifts with out love is of no benefit to anybody. We have to understand all the good intentions, partnered with all the informed Spiritual positioning of gifted individuals, will never amount to a drop in the bucket of Gods purpose, if it is not administered with Love.
Because Love was his plan from the beginning, and Love is the colt he road in on, and Love is the cross he hung upon, and Love is the platform that our lives are to be ministered from. Not from our abilities and gifts being best suited to tackle a task, but our heart burning for the Kingdom to become extended. Not because they asked and you are capable, but because you are longing to see lost found and souls reconciled. Not because you feel guilty and this is something that is with in your comfort zone, but because your feel an urgency, fueled by Love to touch the lives around you.
So I ask you to reflect, reflect on when you have felt that you are operating in your element, and consider how you can pursue ministry, not simply in the ways your are “gifted”, but rather seek to move in the direction that your Heart is breaking for, the situation you long to see healing and growth within. God has equipped you, but more importantly he has filled you with a Love that cannot be contained and that is the resource we are to be serving from first.
I’m not devaluing the importance or the blessing of spiritual gifts. What a wonderful God to give us such resources. But he has also given us a heart with burdens for his people, allow that to gravitate you towards his calling on your life. Pray those burdens into action and watch him move through his interpretation, of your gifting. He gave them to you after all. and he partnered them with your loving heart to get the job of saving souls accomplished.
When the body of Christ encourages individuals into opportunities fueled from Love, and passion first, then Gifts second, it is a body that is positioning people to be fulfilled in their service and not laden with chores that drain the excitement from ministry.
Death was not Christs Spiritual Gift but in the end that was his greatest act of Love and that was the whole point wasn’t it…
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whom ever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.