October 27, 2014
READ: 1 Corinthians 12:1-17
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all (v.4).
During October the trees come alive with colour in my region. One year a particular tree caught my attention. Like Joseph, it wore a ‘coat’ of many colours. Its top leaves were plum coloured. A little lower the purple morphed into crimson foliage. The red gave way to robin’s-chest orange and, finally, neon yellow leaves peeked out at the bottom like a petticoat. Although the leaves had radically different colours, they all had sprouted from the same maple tree.
Our spiritual gifts are like leaves on an autumn tree; they vary greatly, yet they all stem from one source. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all” (1 Corinthians 12:4). Coming from a divine source, our gifts are spiritual in nature. They’re not personality traits or physical abilities, but aptitudes for certain kinds of service within the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
Since the “[Holy Spirit] alone decides which gift each person should have” (1 Corinthians 12:11), we can trust that the spiritual ability God has given us has an important purpose. Every gift has value. Our gifts reveal something about the way God wants us to serve other Christians. “A spiritual gift is given to us so that we can help each other” (v.7). Imagine what the church would be like without leaders, givers, servers or those who show mercy (Romans 12:7-8)!
People gifted with encouragement may minister through music, acts of kindness or written words. Leaders may organise outreach programmes or shepherd a church congregation. Spiritual gifts demonstrate the great diversity in the body of Christ, and they’re evidence that all believers are united in “the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:5).
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day plan› Acts 12:1-25
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 to see what Paul considered to be more important than any single spiritual gift. Look up Ephesians 4:11-13 to see how long our gifts will last.
Are you exempt from serving in ways that do not align with your spiritual giftedness? Why or why not? How might you use your spiritual gift(s) in a new, creative way this week?