1 Corinthians 12.1–12 The gifts of the Spirit (Day 56)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: 1 Corinthians 12

Sometimes Paul writes very dense theology that we puzzle over and decide is too hard for us. At other times, like this, he is luminously clear. The Spirit gives us all different gifts, he says. Underlying his teaching to the Corinthian church is the idea that we shouldn't expect to have someone else's gift and ought to be satisfied with our own. What matters is that everyone's gifts contribute to building up the whole church.

There's reassurance here, and a challenge. The reassurance appears to chime with a lot of modern messaging that focuses on individual fulfilment, feeling good about ourselves because we have unique things to offer to the world. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, and Paul's message that 'The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person' (verse 7) is comforting to all of us: no one is worthless, and we all have something special about us because God's Spirit lives within each of us.

The challenge, though, is because this isn't just about self-fulfilment. Our gifts are given to us for the sake of other people – 'for the good of all' as verse 7 concludes. This is a sharp reality check. Our gifts are not for our own enjoyment or profit, but for the benefit of everyone. Our church community is not somewhere where we try to dominate others, or compete for attention; it's where we humbly give what we have been given.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you for the gifts you have given me. Thank you that I am unique, and that you made me for your glory. Help me to use my gifts to build up others, rather than seeking to shine for my own advantage.

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