I have been working on a class about spiritual gifts lately; it’s going to be a good one I think… As I go through the texts and materials on the subject, I’ve been struck by something that I didn’t anticipate: Sadness. When you carefully study the whole concept of spiritual gifts, the first thing you run into is controversy; I expected that. The controversy is really sad, and by that I mean that it is altogether unnecessary. How simple the subject becomes when we take notice of something that few advocates mention:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
(1 Corinthians 12:7)
Maybe I’m way too simple-minded, but to me this short little verse will generally end all of the arguments, but nobody seems to mention it. Yet, that really isn’t the saddest part. As I go through these wonderful gifts that God gives to His people, I am struck by what they tell us about God Himself. From what He has given to His people we can learn that: 1. God is generous 2. God is creative 3. God is industrious God has given so much of Himself to His people, but what do His people do? Do we use these gifts to build the body of Christ in unity and purpose? Do we use the gifts at all? More often than anything, we just argue about them, or avoid the subject entirely… Now I realize that there are many great Christians out there who are doing amazing things for the body of Christ, and that in this God is being glorified. I also know that there are great and wonderful churches where the body of Christ is being built up, people are coming to Christ and lives are being changed. I also realize that these are often the exceptions, and this is truly sad. May all of us renew our efforts to build up the body of Christ, to the glory of God, and may we rest on the sidelines no longer!