Wednesday, February 28

Inclusive Perspective

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.  God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

There is a danger in life that we make certain jobs, gifts or services look exclusive, like they are better than others, or certain people must not do them, or we get defensive of others coming on ‘our patch’.

Paul would have been addressing similar tensions here in Corinth.

He is saying we all have been given spiritual gifts, lets not be ‘precious’ about that, they have little to do with us, they are a gift of the Holy Spirit.  So whether I prophesy, have a word of wisdom, or speak in tongues it is a product of the working of the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore when you use your gift that is an outworking of the same Holy Spirit. What an equaliser of us all. He is showing that every believer has equal value by the same Holy Spirit being at work in us. Whilst there is no doubt some gifts will build extraordinary faith and be a sign and wonder to God, lets not be wowed by a person with an ‘extraordinary looking gift’, but wowed by the gift giver, the Holy Spirit.

Paul then identifies that there aren’t just spiritual gifts we use, we are also called to serve. The acts of service are numerous and are whatever it takes to build the Church. Hence why He now says its the same Lord we all have. Another equaliser, and a healthy reminder again that we should not be wowed by certain acts if service, all service is done as a surrender to His Lordship.

We should never go, “well thats just not my gift”, that would be denying the fact that we have a Lord to whom we surrender and for whom we will do anything – and whatever you do for another you do for Him. It’s impossible to use the words ‘no’ and ‘Lord’ in the same sentence!  Service is not a gift its a decision, an attitude and an act.

Finally Paul refers to works. There is a job for all of us to do. Something that has a sense of right place and time in it. Not exclusive, simply a task or assignment given to us. In the Church we should have a healthy respect of each persons assignment, whether its ensuring people get an amazing welcome, ministering to children, preaching, cleaning the building, building a business with biblical ethos, and so on – it’s the same God who gives us all purpose.

Sometimes our assignments can look so different we can be tempted to question one another’s work – it’s the same God who calls a business woman to grow a multi-million euro business, providing jobs, influence and money for the city as it is behind the assignment to clean a church building that keeps the place ready for God encounters, same God, same Spirit, same Lord.

Yes Lord!  Same, yet different.  Inclusive perspective.

See you in Church!