1 Corinthians 12:4-27
New International Version (NIV)
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Unity and Diversity in the Body
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 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, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
It seems that in human nature there is a tendency to see whatever gift(s) we have been blessed with as all important and sometimes this keeps us from seeing the whole picture. We either think we don’t need anything or anybody else or we go to the other extreme and express that our gift(s) do not measure up to the gifts someone else has so we do not matter.
I think 1Corinthians 12 addresses that.
When I started my blog I read a lot of advice about how to make it successful, which meant how to get a bunch of folks to visit your site. One of the themes that ran through such advice was to be “controversial.” What some advised was to abandon polite conversation and civil debate and be “edgy.”
There are quite a few bloggers I admire and whose blogs I follow who basically advise that “being nice” does not work because no one will pay attention; that the scorn, ridicule and demonization that comes from people we disagree with will drown out our opposing view somehow if we are too nice. To some extent that does appear to be the case.
Given that fact one can be encouraged that these successful (i.e. lots of followers) are indeed being heard by a great many people. And is that not what we want? Do we not want to give people access to information that will challenge them and make them think? I wonder, though, about the people who really do need to hear the message but are put off and basically stop reading/listening when the personal attacks are a part of the discussion.
I, for instance, try to read posts and articles written by people who do not share my world view. I think we can learn something from everyone. However, when I see references to Conservatives using the vulgar term “tea baggers” I stop listening. Do we not lose people who might eventually start thinking about what we have to share when we refer to them as “libtards?”
I also feel that I am in the camp of believing that my gifts do not measure up to more successful bloggers and question my usefulness. I sometimes look at those statistics and instead of being pleased that my audience has grown, I find myself comparing myself to more successful people and feeling that my contributions are not important.
I wonder if I were to become very successful if I would then think I can sort of do it all myself and that I don’t need the support of others who are, statistically speaking, reaching far less people than I do?
I really do believe in my heart that we all have a role to play. I believe that both extremes are selfishly oriented; either “I don’t matter” or “I am more important or successful.” Oh how very predictably human of us.
What brings our efforts together as members of the Church? It would appear that Christian love is the glue that holds us together and makes the whole much greater and much more powerful than the sum of its parts.
As Alistair Begg points out, the first sentence in chapter 13 of 1Corinthians. Without Christian, Agape love our speech is a “noisy nuisance.” Referring back to chapter 8 verse one we find that knowledge “puffs up” but that love “builds up.” When we exercise our gifts in the framework of love it builds up Gods people. He goes on to say that what we say may indeed be eloquent but that speaking in the absence of love we might as well be ” a resounding gong” or a “clanging cymbal.” His reference to the fact that this equates to “making sounds as offensive as a continually barking dog” says it best.
So what it boils down to is this: “What is the motivation of our hearts?” Those who possess gifts which we view as highly desirable become, in our minds, very important people, however, if those gifts are not used in a framework of love they really amount to nothing.
Which brings me to a present day example of this.
Dr. Benjamin Carson: “Unless you care about other people it does not matter how smart you are.”
Dr. Benjamin Carson spoke recently at the Fellowship Foundation National Prayer Breakfast and exhibited the ability to speak of things of importance in a framework of Christian Love.
He expressed opinions and ideas that are in some ways the direct opposite of what President Obama’s and other Progressives’ views are. Yet he did it without personal attacks or insults. Why do you suppose he was able to do that? I’m thinking the answer has to do with that Christian love that the people of Corinth were told was so important.
Please watch his speech and decide for yourself.