When we are trying to decide how to respond to a given life situation, do we base our decision on our understanding of God’s will for our lives or on some need of our own ego? Today’s passage guides our thoughts. Verses 1-3 note that we first acknowledge the one whom we confess: “Jesus is Lord!” That confession comes “by the Holy Spirit.” Only after affirming our basic commitment does Paul look at the gifts themselves.
We then ask if our response to a situation matches up with our particular spiritual gift(s)—the one(s) necessary for the job. The Corinthians strongly valued the gift of tongues, which even today some congregations tag as the test of true spiritual maturity. We may not be attracted to that particular gift, but do we ever neglect the ones we have, wishing we had other gifts?
I personally would love to have the gift of healing; I have a friend who helps others in profound ways with that gift. She visited me after I was diagnosed with cancer and spent two days laying on hands and praying for me. I truly believe that I have been in remission from stage 4 lymphoma in part because of her gift of healing.
So—what are our gifts? Since I’ve been a teacher throughout my life, in a variety of settings and in many different ways, I believe my gift is the “utterance of knowledge.” This gift doesn’t sound very exciting when compared with healing or prophecy, but it serves the people of God for the “common good.” What gifts do you possess, given by God? How are you using them to respond to concerns that arise in your life?

Dear God, I am often tempted to envy the spiritual gifts of others. When I do that, I downplay and neglect the gifts that you have given me. Help me realize that you don’t give your gifts for our benefit but for the building up of the body of Christ. May I acknowledge that you are the one doing the work when I participate with you in using my gifts. Amen.

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