1 Corinthians 12:1-31
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,
10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling?
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.
19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body.
21 And 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 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it,
25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
After having surgery on my thumb, I have a new appreciation for this chapter! One little tip of the thumb rocked my whole body for more than 5 weeks. Because my thumb had an injury, my hand was immobilized, because my hand was immobilized, I had to keep my hand elevated, which immobilized and caused weariness and pain in my elbow. Because my elbow was tired, my shoulder was trying to compensate and was achy, and because my shoulder was bearing a load, my back was affected.
One little member brought a huge upset to my body, my sleep, my peace, and ultimately my life!
The body of Christ is made up of members that are so intricately important, regardless of which part they make up. We need each other for support and health and mobility and so much more.
The other thought I had on this is that my thumb was never able to leave my body and strike out on its own, it had to remain connected to my body to maintain its life flow. If I had removed my thumb, it would die and be discarded by lack of blood flow and oxygen.
The blood flow that keeps us together in the body of Christ is the precious blood of Jesus and our oxygen is the breath of Spirit Wind! We have to remain connected, where God placed us to live and thrive and be the part of the body that God called us to be a part of!
In the area of spiritual gifting, where there is ability given to individuals for the benefit of all, there is no provision for the elevation of some above others. While there is a very natural tendency to assume importance or priority of some over others based upon the operation of a gift, Paul indicates that the greater honor needs to be given to those with the “lesser” gifts, those ones that don’t necessarily appear to be all that essential. By elevation of those that aren’t noticeable, there is removal of separation that causes division and enabling of pride. The purpose of gifting, then, isn’t to exalt those with the greater gifts, but for those with the greater gifts to honor and lift up those that are weaker. It would seem that the reason for desiring the best gifts is to better honor the weaker ones.
There is a way to avoid the downfalls of exalted gifts and the possibilities of damaging error by ensuring that the motive be confined to edifying the body. While exalting the gifted only serves to weaken and sever the body as a whole, building up all as if each is most essential maintains relevance and legitimacy of all the gifts and a healthy body. Rather than eliminating the utilization of gifts altogether, how much better it can be to desire better gifts from a passion to edify and build up the whole body.