September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”—1 Corinthians 12:7–11 (NIV)
Have you ever watched a dance production? I’ve always loved dance, and watching dance recitals always help me return to a state of awe for God’s beauty. I’ve seen dances performed as worship to the Lord, as a form of storytelling, and as depictions of various aspects of the faith.
I want you to imagine you’re watching a dance like this. There are multiple people in the dance, and they each move in their own way. They move together in coordination at times, yet they also have moments to highlight their various strengths and gifts on the dance floor. This image displays the beauty of complexity and simplicity all at once. They each come together to strengthen one another and contribute to the larger goal of sharing a story and honoring God.
I wanted to paint this image for you because it will help us understand todays Scripture. In this part of the letter to the Corinthians, Paul is addressing spiritual gifts. The Corinthians were concerned with spiritually comparing and competing with each other. Paul’s main goal here is to remind his readers that their attention should not be on what all the gifts are and who has what gift; instead, their focus should be on the one Holy Spirit who empowers and unites them all in these gifts. Paul doesn’t give an exhaustive list of all the spiritual gifts and what they look like; rather, he refers to some of them in order to paint an image to the Corinthians similar to the one I painted for you with the dance.
In a group dance, everyone has the same music fueling and leading their movements, yet they each have different strengths and particular steps to take. Similarly, the same Spirit resides in all of us who have chosen to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation—and that unites us all as one body. Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit loves to grant us different gifts and use us in different ways. We will meet people who both have the same gifts as us and have different gifts than us. And still, the purpose of using those gifts always remains the same: to build up the body.
Just as Paul says in verse 7, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good,” may we always keep in mind that the same Spirit was given to each of us in order to use us in different ways for the same purpose of building each other up and worshiping God together! When we keep this in mind, we can live and flow together as beautifully as a group of dancers who move in unison with the music and embrace every unique movement.
Pause: How have you seen the Holy Spirit share different gifts with people in the church? Consider how you have also seen people use their gifts to build you up?
Practice: Today, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate gifts within you so you can use them for God’s glory. Consider what your spiritual gifts may be and ask yourself how you can better engage and grow them.
Pray: Jesus, You are the giver of good gifts. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence within us. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for speaking truth to us we so often forget on our own. I pray You would work in our hearts daily to cultivate gifts within us that You are calling us to use for Your glory and the good of the body of Christ. We love You and trust You! Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.