There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
I Corinthians 12:4-7 NIV
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. I Corinthians 12:27-31
The culture in Corinth was focused on status – who was rich, powerful, influential and in charge. It is not surprising that new Christians also were prone to contend for status within the Corinthian church by categorizing certain Spiritual gifts as more important or more desirable. Paul uses two illustrations to talk about different Spiritual gifts – a building and a physical body. Both help to get his point across.
We could also use any organization – the army for instance – to get the same point across. In the army of course there are leaders and followers. There are fewer leaders at the very top of the organization and more followers closer to the bottom. But each person has an essential role or job to fulfill. It may seem that the company cook and the company clerk are not as important as the general, but everyone must eat good food in order to perform their important jobs, and if there was no one to order jeeps, trucks or other supplies, no one would have the essential items required to do their daily tasks.
Paul lists the various Spiritual gifts in many of his letters to the churches. (I Corinthians 12:8-10, I Corinthians 12:27-30, Ephesians 4:11.) He says that each person is to use their particular Spiritual gift,
to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:12-16 NIV
Not unlike the different jobs in the army, Christians are to use their Spiritual gifts to build up the church body, benefitting both the individual exercising the gift, and the others who are served by the use of that particular gift. What are your gifts? Are you using them in some way within the church body? Ask God to show you how to use his gifts to you in ways to prepare others for service in God’s kingdom.