Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
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.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. I Corinthians 12:1-31
God apportions different spiritual gifts to each person, but all the gifts come from God. We are one body, not each individual church, but The Church as a whole, we work together as a whole to function completely as God designed. We need each other, individually and collectively. We should care for each other in sadness, joy, and honor.
As I read this passage, I immediately thought of work. I would guess that most places, regardless of the skill-set often have similar conversations, but as a Social Worker at least once a month or so, I have someone say to me “I could never do what you do.” Or something along the lines to imply that they could not or would not want to have my job duties and responsibilities. I have had nurses, patient techs, and even doctors make those comments.
My responses is generally “And I could never do what you do.” See, I learned while caring for my children and then my mother when she broke both her ankles that I can not handle bodily fluids. Infant diapers and spit up, I can handle with ease; projectile vomit, toddler poop, cleaning grown adults all cause me to gag. I would rather throw away the blanket that my child vomited on than clean it. I am that squeamish when it comes to bodily fluids. Blood and needles do not bother me as much, but then I am not really exposed to them. The various smells that accompany medical procedures gross me out. I have no desire to see any part of a strangers body besides their face or the hand that I am shaking. And medical jargon sends me in a tailspin if I have to speak it. I much prefer to speak the laymen’s version of medical-ese. I also can be a bit of a germophobic. I mean it whole heartedly when I say “I could never do what they do.” They could not pay me enough to consider being a patient technician or certified nurses assistant.
There are times in my job when the patient in front of me needs something that is not in my job description, but that I can help them with. I will often get a patient a drink, a warm blanket, or some other tangible item that I can assist with to meet a need. I can silence an alarm and let the nurse or tech know the need instead of allowing it to keep beeping in the patient room. I can answer the call outside my “wheelhouse” and I don’t mind taking the time to get the right person for a patient or family that can help make their time with us more comfortable. However, I will not do something that I am not equipped and trained to do. I would also not consume my day fulfilling their duties whiles ignoring my own.
I thought about how this relates to us in the body, in light of this passage. I realize that there are things that need to be done for the Kingdom of God that I have been appointed by God to do. He equipped me and trained me for such a time. I also know that there are some things that I can step in and help with to give someone else a hand when they are busy. Even if it is not my job or gifting, I can meet the need even if the one who is gifted in that area is busy. There are other things that I have no business trying to do because I am not gifted or equipped to do it.
For some reason in the body of Christ we feel the need to do it all. I can drive myself nuts trying to do what God has not appointed to me. I might for a minute look like I know what I am doing, but ask too much and I am going to have to say “let me get someone who can help you. Why as Christians do we feel the need to try to do everything? We make excuses about not wanting to burden others or be an inconvenience. Why do we let 20% of the body do 80% of the work?
As leaders we should be calling on the individual members of the body to use the natural gifts that God has placed in others. We shouldn’t be making others feel that their gifts are not needed because “We have it covered.” Often times, people are not willing to step in and offer to help because there is already people doing it and they feel like their contribution isn’t wanted. Yes, it might take some time to train a new person, but if God is equipped them, imagine what God wants to do through them if we just empowered them.
As individuals we need to each rise up and use our gifts to build up God’s Kingdom. We need to use our gifts to help ease the burden, especially on those in the five-fold ministry. I am guilty of making excuses as to why I am not stepping up and using my gifts. I have also made excuses as to why I am spending so much time on things God never called me to do. If God has equipped you, imagine what He can accomplish through your obedience.