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Spiritual Gifts Help the Church

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
—1 Corinthians 12:12

Have you ever wondered why individual believers aren’t given all the gifts? Each of us only has one gift. The only person who ever lived who had all the spiritual gifts was Jesus Christ. You and I don’t have all the gifts.

Why doesn’t God give each believer all the spiritual gifts? Why does He spread them out among us, one by one? Because God’s plan for the church is not that we operate as independent agents but that we cooperate with one another. In fact, the most common image in the New Testament to describe the church of Jesus Christ is a body. Just as the human body has many parts but functions as one, so the body of Christ is many and yet one.

First Corinthians 12 tells us how the church is to operate. “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ” (v. 12). “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be?” (vv. 18–19). What would the body be like if it were one giant eyeball? Or one giant nostril? Or you know, one giant ear? It would be unattractive and certainly inefficient. That’s what Paul is saying. And verse 27 says, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.” The human body is many parts, but it functions as one. And when it’s functioning correctly it is a model of cooperation.

Not long ago, my wife Amy and I went to a Sunday school party. I had not eaten much for lunch, so as I walked into that Sunday school party my stomach began to growl, signaling I was hungry. Fortunately my eyes spotted some cheeseburgers that had just come off the grill. So my feet took me over to where the grill was. My hands picked up the tongs that grabbed a cheeseburger, put it on a bun, doused it in mustard, and shoved that cheeseburger into my mouth. My mouth began to chew. The food went down to my stomach, and everything was all right with the world. Now, that’s cooperation. That’s efficiency. That’s how the human body works together to achieve one purpose.

Now, it’s the same way in the body of Christ. When every member of the church is doing his or her part, it is a model of cooperation and efficiency. The reason God didn’t give each of us all of the gifts is so that we could learn to depend upon and cooperate with one another. God gave us spiritual gifts to help perfect the body of Christ.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gift — Message 1” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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