I’ve heard of two different approaches to business. One is the shotgun approach, with a wide spread that is intended to reach as many people as possible. These are the Wal-Marts and Googles of the world—their market is everyone. The second, and often more effective approach, is the rifle. This targets a precise market that is intently looking for a specific product or service. You know exactly who your customers are, and what they want. In today’s passage, Paul talks about gifts to be used in the edification of the church. Some of us are drawn to doing everything all the time, but Paul suggests it is more effective to play a specific role in line with your gifting.
- What are your gifts? How are you using them to edify (build up) the church?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 12:27-31 (ESV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
- Consider verse 27. In what ways is this true in your church body?
- What gifts are listed in this passage?
- What effect is made by the repeated questions in verses 29-30?
- Paul encouraged the Corinthians to desire “the higher gifts,” those that do more to build up the church (1 Cor. 14:5, 12, 17, 26). What does Paul’s encouragement imply about the gifts given to Christians?
- Which gifts listed in this passage—if any—do you find applicable to your own life?
RESPOND TO GOD
At various times in the New Testament, the spiritual gifts are discussed. This passage is not an exhaustive list of the gifts given to us by God. And there is a more-than-likely chance you don’t identify as a prophet or miracle worker. But the important takeaway is that God has certainly given you a role to play, and he is expecting you to play it. Consider what you have to offer—commercially, socially, and culturally—and consider how you can apply your unique gifts to the edification of the church.
- Pray that God would reveal ways for you to use your gifts to build up the church.