Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26
14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 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 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
Paul’s favorite image of the Church is the Body of Christ. Just as every part of the body is important, so every person in the church is important. Just as every part of the body is has a purpose and role to play, so also it is with the Church.
Paul wrote eloquently about the giftedness of the Church. The gifts are given to individuals. In the early part of the 12th chapter of I Corinthians, Paul reminded the Christians in Corinth—and his words remind us today—that every person is unique, with a unique set of gifts God has given to that person. We often use the word “gifted” to describe only a select few who excel at what they do. We speak of gifted athletes, gifted students, and gifted musicians, but we generally reserve the word “gifted” for just a few standouts. However, when scripture talks about giftedness, it is used to describe everyone. Every person is gifted! You are gifted. I am gifted. And each of us is gifted in a unique way.
Paul wrote earlier in the chapter, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
The Greek word Paul uses for “Gifts” is charismata. It is related to the word, charis, which means “Grace”. These are gifts given by God to everyone through Grace. They are gifts of grace and it becomes apparent as Paul gives examples of these gifts in his letters that they are not just talents and abilities: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, ministry, teaching, exhortation, generosity, compassion…. Obviously “faith” or “generosity” or “compassion” are not gifts that require some particular talent. The gift of faith or generosity or compassion may not come to the forefront until it is tested. We usually know what our talents and abilities are because they are obvious. We may not know we possess a gift until we respond to a need that calls for that gift. That’s why people speak of “discovering” that they have a gift.
What gifts have you discovered?
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster