Daily Devotion – January 11, 2022 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

1 Corinthians 12:1-11
12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
12:2 You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak.
12:3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;
12:5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;
12:6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.
12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
12:8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,
12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
12:10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
12:11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

The Apostle Paul, the author of this letter to the vibrant and often fighting community of the church in Corinth, wants the believers there to appreciate and uplift one another’s gifts, not compete over them. And, first and foremost, he wants them to see that, whatever spiritual gift one might have, that gift is a gift of the Holy Spirit and nothing the human being thought up and did for him or herself. We, all of us believers, are a Spirit-led community, and these gifts are given for the good of the people we are meant to serve, not FOR US.

This is an important message to us today. We meet to worship in communities of faith which sometimes function like little clubs of comfort rather than teams willing to go out in service to others. We are meant to glorify God, the giver of our gifts, so that newcomers might believe in God, not believe in us. The gifts are for the common good, Paul says, for the good of the world that God has always loved.

The Spirit has chosen some of us to be teachers, some musicians, some preachers, some prophets, some healers. And these gifts have been given so that the world benefits from us and comes to glorify the God who gives these gifts into the world so unsparingly.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Help us to be faithful to the mission you have given us and to use the gifts you have given us in service to people we may not even know. Help us prove to be fit servants to you by keeping your gifts and your generosity foremost in our minds.  Amen.