There are three distinctive characteristics or skills that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit gives to believers. These are gifts, service, and working as we will discuss below from 1 Corinthians 12. Each person is wired differently by the Lord from his or her birth. He is given talents from birth that blossom later in life as he grows and matures. And when she comes to faith, she is given Spiritual gifts to help the body of believers and she is also given a heart for a particular area of service. We will see the breakdown below between the three. Neither gifts, nor service, or working are any greater than the other. All areas are of equal value.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7
First, all who come to faith in Jesus Christ have the same Spirit and should display this same fruit. No one is exempt from these fruits.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 1 Corinthians 12:4
“8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11
The Holy Spirit gives different spiritual gifts to each one who trusts in Jesus by faith. Though we as fallen flesh tend to exalt some gifts over the other, such as the gifts of prophesy, or tongues, or the teaching gift, all gifts are equal in the eyes of Jesus and no one person has all of them. So, that if a person does not speak in tongues, she is not less than someone who does and not all persons will speak in tongues, so this is not proof of a person having the Holy Spirit. The person who does not speak in tongues, may have the gift of discernment. We are called to not judge the gifts as more important or less important than each other. It is when we place them in a hierarchy, that we put ourselves in error. The reason the gifts below are listed in a supposed order is not because one is more important than the other, but it is in how they fall. First, there needs to be apostles to start the church, then prophets to share the message of God, then teachers to help people understand that message, then to confirm the message as truth through miracles, and then in helping to help others to understand this message in works, and then in others to guide those who are struggling, and finally, the last in tongues to help edify.
“27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? ” 1 Corinthians 12:27-30
“3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:3-8
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 1 Corinthians 12:5
Each person has different kinds of service, so that each person will have a heart to serve the Lord differently. This could be anything from praying for people, to cooking meals for shut-ins, to rescuing women out of trafficking, to teaching Vacation Bible School, to helping your neighbor with her yardwork, to visiting the elderly and listening to their life stories, to caring for someone’s children when they have a medical emergency, to writing and sharing what the Lord is teaching them. The list goes on and on and each person is wired differently, but all of these acts of service are equal no matter the duration of the service and no matter the type of service.
“39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:39-40
As Christians, it is very important that we listen to what the Lord is putting on our hearts in regard to service. Each of these acts shows the love of Jesus to those around us and without us doing what the Lord puts on our hearts, someone may suffer some loss as a consequence, and eventually, our Lord will find someone else who will do His will if we choose not to follow His leadings.
6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:6
God has blessed people with different skill sets, or ‘kinds of working,’ Some people are naturally inclined to be mechanical. Some can cook up delicious meals. Some can create beautiful garments from string and fabric. Some can splash color on canvas and create glorious artwork. Some can sing like a bird and bless the ears of others. Some can understand the intricate details of medical advancements. Each person has a tendency to have a higher skill set in certain areas. An auto-mechanic may be able to diagnosis an engine issue but he probably won’t also be able to come up with a vaccine for a deadly outbreak. God has created us all different like this so that we each can provide value to one other. No ‘kind of work’ is more valuable or less valuable then the other, even though our society places value within certain career choices. A government ruler is no more important than the young man who works at a fast food restaurant. God sees all work as to the glory of Him and all of equal pay.
- “He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer.” Exodus 35:35
- “So now send me a man skilled to work in gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and in purple, crimson, and blue fabrics, trained also in engraving, to be with the skilled workers who are with me in Judah and Jerusalem, whom David my father provided.” 2 Chronicles 2:7
- ““You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it.” Exodus 23:18 – We have skilled seamstresses.
- “in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft.” Exodus 35:33 – We have skilled work workers and masons
- “this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.” Ezra 7:6 – We have a writer and a scholar
- “Advance, O horses, and rage, O chariots! Let the warriors go out: men of Cush and Put who handle the shield, men of Lud, skilled in handling the bow.” Jeremiah 46:9 – We have men skilled at protecting others
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
Thank you, Lord, that you have wired us all differently so that we can all compliment and help each other. Forgive us for the times when we’ve lifted up certain people with certain gifts or certain careers higher than others. In your eyes, all are equal and are highly valued by you. Thank you that no matter what our gifts are that you see those as valuable and of an integral part of your body. We are so thankful that you would choose to use us. In Jesus Name. Amen.