I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: 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.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Paul’s favorite image of the Church is the Body of Christ. Just as every part of the body is essential, so every person in the Church is important. Just as every part of the body has a purpose and role to play, so it is with the Church.
Paul wrote eloquently about the giftedness of the Church. People are gifted as 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 provides 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,” “generosity,” or “compassion” are not gifts that require some particular talent. The gift of faith, generosity, or compassion may not come to the forefront until tested. We usually know what our talents and abilities are because they are apparent. We may not realize 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? What gifts are waiting to be discovered?
Hymn: “Many Gifts, One Spirit” by Al Carmines (1973)
God of change and glory,
God of time and space,
When we fear the future,
Give to us your grace.
In the midst of changing ways
Give us still the grace to praise.
Many gifts, one Spirit,
One love known in many ways.
In our difference is blessing,
From diversity we praise
One Giver, one Lord,
One Spirit, one Word
Known in many ways,
Hallowing our days.
For the Giver, for the gifts,
Praise, praise, praise!
God of many colors,
God of many signs,
You have made us different,
Blessing many kinds.
As the old ways disappear,
Let your love cast out our fear.
Freshness of the morning,
Newness of each night,
You are still creating
Endless love and light.
This we see, as shadows part,
Many gifts from one great heart.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster