Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Spiritual Gifts and the Church (part 13): 1 Cor 12:21-24

"And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'; or again the head to the feet, 'I have no need of you.' On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked." (1 Corinthians 12:21-24)
One of the other mistakes we make in reference to the diversity of favor and gifting within the Body is when we minimize, not only ourselves, but also others. We tend to value people who are similar to us but devalue those who are different. We are like the eye that says to the hand, "I have no need of you!" simply because they are a hand and we are an eye.

This is common among those who are gifted. They see their gifting as the most important thing and look down on those who are not likewise gifted. For example, those with a prophetic gifting do not understand or value those gifted with a pastoral gifting. Those called with an evangelistic calling don't understand or value those with a teaching calling. Often, this inflated valuation of our gifting causes us to limit our fellowship with those of similar gifting, leaving little room for those who might be different. When we do this we fail to see that we not only need "eyes" but also "hands". When we only fellowship with people who are the same as us, we exclude ourselves from the fullness of who God is and His administration in our midst. We become malnourished spiritually just as we would in the natural if we only eat one type of food to the exclusion of others. We need not just a part of the Body, we need the full Body.

The other way we minimize others is when we hold them in low esteem because of their station in this life. It is easy to look down upon the simple, poor, and the weak. However, Paul challenges us that those who seem weaker are all the more necessary. They may be of lowly state in this life, but in the Spirit they have great value, purpose, and honor.

God has so composed the Body, giving greater honor in the things of the Spirit to those who lack honor in the natural. Those, who because of their station in this life would lack in honor, God has given greater favor, grace, and gifting that, in the Body, they might have greater honor; those having honor in the flesh not needing extra honor in the Spirit. In light of this Paul reminds us to,
"Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Cor 1:26-29)
James also concurs with Paul, teaching us that, "Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?" (James 2:5)

When we minimize others based upon outward appearances and status in this life, we often miss the hidden treasure that God has placed in them, treasure that would enrich ourselves and contribute to the growth and health of God's body.

More to come... David Robison

1 comment:

  1. I have found this to be true, David. I have often found the 'hidden' ones in the Body of Christ to be rich in experience and wisdom. Many times I have been blessed to spend time with a sister or brother in Christ who does not appear to have the exterior 'glamour', yet contains in abundance an interiour treasure.