Equipped…for the rest of us.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 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. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
Every 4 years I am glued to the screen for the swimming events during the summer Olympics. I am always brought back to my one year on my of high school swim team. In full confession: I was horrible. I spent my first practice of the summer being taught by a coach how to do the basic ‘freestyle’ stroke. I only got to swim in an event when the outcome of the swim meet was already determined. I am not equipped to be a swimmer, but it still holds a special place in my heart.
As believers, we have been banded together for a mission and we have been equipped to succeed. Unlike my dismal foray into competitive swimming, we have been created to exercise our gifts in order to see each of us succeed. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul describes how spiritual gifts have been given in order to accomplish the mission of Christ on earth.
In verse 7, he says “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
We are each given a gift. Some are grand and cause people to take notice. Some are quiet, and simply get things done without much fanfare. Each gift is given for the same expressed purpose: building each other up. My gift is more about how I can serve someone else! My gift is intended to serve the body of Christ, not make a name for myself. The diversity of the gifts is given for the unity of the body.
What if I stopped worrying about whether people “appreciate all I do for this place?” Or if I gave up complaining to God about how I’m not as “special as So-and-So”? God’s call on my life is part of a bigger picture. The gift I have been given is different than yours, but no less integral to the proper functioning of the Body. Each of us is needed in order to accomplish the mission God has given us. There is freedom in relaxing into our call, choosing to be intentional in exercising our gift for the good of the community.
So today as we consider what it means to be ‘equipped’ for this Christian life, I pray that we be mindful of how we fit into the larger context of the Body of Christ. May we find ways to equip others with the gift of the Spirit we have been given. How can your gift to equip the rest of us?
Do you struggle with comparison? If so, describe.
Reflect on a time that you felt fulfilled in what you offered to a ministry.
How can your gift equip others in the church?