Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, February 18, 2011

1 Corinthians 12

 I love this passage. I know, I say that about a lot of the Bible, but I should, shouldn't I? I mean, I love my maps. This is my ultimate map. Anyway, I often run into those, especially in Pentecostal churches, who are obsessed with having or developing every spiritual gift ever thought up or discovered. Every one. You know what? If we contained every single gift, I don't think we'd any longer be considered human. We are all of the greatest import to God-that's the whole reason He sent His son to die for us. He loves us. No matter what, He wants the best for us. He created each of us to be who we are-we through our choices augment from that creation. He is the one who has endowed us each with our own special gifts: musicians, prophets, healers, apostles. 1 Cor 12 has Paul talking about these gifts. Apparently he was getting just as frustrated as I do in listening to everyone want to be the best or the most. The thing is, we are all supposed to be different, and we each play our own important part. Imagine life without one of your limbs, or an eye. This is the illustration Paul gives us to help us see that no matter how insignificant our role seems, it is of the utmost importance in the grand scheme of things. Not all of us are made to be able to heal others. Not all of us are made to be mothers. Not all of us are made to worship loud and extravagantly. Each of us has our talents, and we should help to grow what talents we have rather than yearning or trying to grow what isn't there. There are a couple verses that especially struck me to carry away today:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.  I Corinthians 12:4-6
So God is involved in us all, no matter what our gift or role is, and in that we should rejoice. It is this later verse that I was even more interested in:
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty while our presentable parts need no special treatment. I Corinthians 12:22-24
 I like this for two reasons. First, we see that no matter how menial or weak we seem, we play a most important role in the grand scheme of things. We have purpose no matter what. We may grumble at having to change another diaper or miss the best part of the church service in the cry room, but in the grand scheme of things we are shaping another life. No matter how small that seems at the time, ultimately it is one of the most important roles we have. Spiritually, I may not be able to carry a tune, but can make anyone smile with a hug or kind gesture. I may feel left out because I cannot perform on the worship team, but in the grand scheme of things I made someones life just a little better, of what great import is that? Awesome.
Also seen in here is a secondary mention on modesty by Paul. He is talking about the church body, but also we see reference to how we are to treat our physical bodies. We should take care of every last part of it. In other parts of the Bible it is referred to as a temple-God's temple, which we should respect. The striking line is about the unpresentable being treated with special modesty. If you think really fast about that which *should* not be presented to the grand public, we see him giving a hint as to how we should keep in mind how we clothe ourselves. I am sure, looking at the way Paul writes in general, that this a deliberate reminder to keep our physical gifts in mind as much as our spiritual ones. Everything should be treated with the proper respect and admiration.
It is easy to fall into a worldly view of ourselves and our everyday, to see us as just one insignificant instead of a beautiful one with an ultimate purpose, but God sees us that way. To Him, we are each the most wonderful of his creations. We do not all have to possess all gifts. We do not have to posses the best (in our minds) gift or gifts. He loves us all equally. Only an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent Maker could do this, and He does, no matter what.

1 comment:

  1. I just posted something quite similar to this just the other day...I guess it is evidence that the evil one wants to destroy us by using our own thoughts against us and we all, no doubt, do battle in this area from time to time!!

    Cute baby goaties in sweaters!


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