“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore 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.” (I Corinthians 12:1-3)
The tease and rebel in me wants to test this out – but I know what the writer of I Corinthians meant. It is easy enough to give “lip service” – speaking without truly meaning it. But when the sentiments come deep from the heart any true Christian cannot mock the Divine; and one who has not aligned their life with the Divine cannot speak or act out any meaningful worship. It is should be a sign to you, beloved reader, so that you might be able to tell the difference. And to live out the difference. That might be just what the writer of I Corinthians intended.
“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.” (Verses 3-7)
In my younger days, I found it frustrating to think that I might not be able to encompass ALL the spiritual gifts possible. I wanted to be that involved in ministry and that in tune with God. Now, in my older years when I am wiser (comparatively speaking) and more experienced in life, I find it daunting to think that I have even one of the gifts of the Spirit!
“To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to 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.” (Verses 8 to 10)
I used to wonder which gift I would get; surely I would get at least one?! That was a concern I used to have also – that I would not get any gift! And how would I know which gift I had?! How would I know how to use it?! What if I did not use it well or correctly?! Yes, . . . I had a lot of concerns, fears, and expectations. Ministry was sort of a tradition in my family. And I wanted to carry on that tradition.
“All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” (Verse 11)
To be quite honest, I am not sure which gift I do have – that is, from the Spirit. It did not work out quite as seamlessly as the writer of I Corinthians had me believe. Oh, that writer and I will have a good many conversations! What I came realize is that we develop gifts, abilities, and talents that we can put to use in ministry. It is not so much individual gifts, but individuals that commit their entire being to ministry. So rather than just offering up what gifts I have, or think I have, or want to have – I just offer up me!
May you, beloved reader, offer up yourselves to our Lord. And may our Lord bless you abundantly in the Divine’s service. Selah!