In our series on the church, we have explored a few aspects of what the church is and should be. We have defined what it is from a biblical perspective using the apostles viewpoint. We have also defined what the leadership should look like and how they should act as overseers of the church. In this article, we are going to explore the gifts of those in the church and how the members of the body are supposed to act.
“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” This verse in 1 Corinthians 12:14 is a core value of God’s church. Followers of Jesus are unified in the body by the Spirit which Paul says just before this verse. However, though we are unified, we are individuals and are all different parts of the body that have different functions and purposes.
Every part of the body, meaning everyone in the church, has spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 gives us some of the gifts that one can have. Prophecy, judgment, healing, and wisdom are all gifts we can have. Romans 12 also lists things such as showing mercy, being generous, serving others, teaching, and encouraging others are all spiritual gifts. Paul makes it clear that there is a reason we all have the gifts we have. “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18). God has placed people in His church just as he liked so it could better the church. When we are using our gifts just as God planned, we become a more unified body of people in Jesus. Everyone should use their gifts for the good of others and as a group we become a better church when we do this.
Spiritual gifts are what make our faith in Jesus active and involved. A spiritual gift is given to be used by the one whom it was given to. If we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, we have to use our spiritual gifts to reach everyone. We should not be jealous of others’ gifts or not be satisfied with our own. But Paul makes it clear that everyone, no matter what gift we have, should have love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
What Paul wants us to understand is that we could have great spiritual gifts. We could have the greatest faith or can prophecy great mysteries, or can speak in the most languages. But without love, none of these gifts matter. If we don’t love God and love others, then these spiritual gifts mean nothing. Love is what bonds people together and it never fails.
When we think of spiritual gifts and using them for the church, we must always remember love. We need to remember to love others with our gifts and to love God. Our gifts were given to us so that we could better each other and spread light to the world. Gifts are important, but love is most important.