The Gifts

I have been listening to the Book of 1 Cornithians on cd , narrated by Blair Underwood. His rendering of the Scriptures is excellent and helps reveal nuances that one might miss in one’s silent reading of the Scriptures. As he reads (and I continue to listen repeatedly) Paul’s addressing the issue of the gifts in the church . Paul is explaining that the body of Christ in the Earth is one Body. And he compares the mystical Body of Christ to the human body. I began to see a correlation between the way God has organized the corporeal body to the mystical Body of Christ , i.e. the Church.

Paul says in v.12 (paraphrased) that just like the body is one unit but has many members so is the Body of Christ one Body but having many members. Here Paul is using the word “members” in the context of “parts” not human members per se. And the gifts are given as the Holy Spirit desires to distribute them as He wills. Paul names the gifts; Word of wisdom, Word of knowledge, Prophecy, Discerning of spirits, Special faith, Gifts of healings, Working of miracles, Diverse tongues and Interpretation of tongues. But just as God has placed and arranged the limbs and organs in the human body, each one just as He sees fit for use, Holy Spirit has arranged the “limbs & organs” in the Mystical Body of Christ.

Then I began to see that the gift of Prophecy was the eyes of the Body of Christ. Discerning of Spirits was the nose of the Body of Christ. Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues was the tongue in the Body of Christ. Word of Wisdom was the mouth. Word of Knowledge, the brain, Special faith was the heart and Gifts of healings was the touch. Working of miracles the hands.

There are other correlations that can be made as I am sure some of you will see other connections. I am just beginning to look into this in this new light. But Paul says that just as the body is not all one eye, or all one ear or all one nose, so Christ’s Body has diverse parts and each soul has his/her gift. The ear does not see and the nose does not hear. The foot cannot say it is not a part of the body because it is not the hand. But each member of our physical body has its particular function and it absolutely necessary to the well-being of that body. Even so, in the Mystical Body of Christ, each particular member has a gift and it may be similar to another, as in the same category that the Lord has chosen such as musicians or administrators or pastors or teachers or Helps, but each one is worked by that individual as to the portion God has bestowed on that individual. Some may have the same gift as another but in a different capacity. It is important to the spiritual welfare of the Body of Christ that each person (member) uses to highest ability his/her gift for the advancing of the Kingdom and not envy the gift of another.

It is
exciting to think that we are spiritual members of Christ’s Body where He is the Head and we are the working parts being His hands, and His tongue and His mind and His heart and His healing power. We are truly one with Christ, a working spiritual organism. Let us use our gifts to their full capacity. Let us not envy one another’s gifts and be jealous of a brother or sister….any more than the ear can be jealous of the nose, or the eye jealous of the hand. Each one of us is a member in particular with just the right portion of gifting dispensed by an all-wise God. Let us be like the wise household servants who put their Master’s talents to work to the best of their ability and produced a greater percentage of yield for Him, the Master, Who is soon coming.

12 thoughts on “The Gifts

  1. MG, love studying the gifts of the spirit. Interesting thinking of the gifts in this light. My question (s) We know the physical bodies have many sicknesses that involves the body parts. We hear of eye diseases like, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma, and others. We could name each body part and many disorders would come to our minds. Therefore, my question, does it work the same with the spiritual body parts? If so, how does one get their gift healed and in working order?

    Also, if one has a gift like our feet, hands, nose, etc. and sits home and does not becomes an active part of the body of Christ, then how does the church stay healthy?

    Hum, maybe we need to overhaul our spiritual health insurance like congress is trying to do with our physical health insurance. This all makes me wonder what in the world Paul was really thinking about when he penned these words?

  2. Sara asks: ‘Also, if one has a gift like our feet, hands, nose, etc. and sits home and does not becomes an active part of the body of Christ, then how does the church stay healthy?’

    An inactive organ or body part may cause the entire body to be sick. It does not look like the church can be vibrant and healthy unless each one is contributing and functioning. That’s like saying ‘oh, I think I will just leave my hands home today’ while I go to work or play and to heck with the rest of the body.
    I Cor 11 talks about the Lord’s body, communion and the responsibility of believers/body members that come to the communion table. Perhaps this has something to do with sickness in the body.
    “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. “

  3. When an organ is not used it begins to atrophy.
    ATROPHY (the Free Dictionary)
    1. (Medicine / Pathology) a wasting away of an organ or part, or a failure to grow to normal size as the result of disease, faulty nutrition, etc.
    2. any degeneration or diminution, esp through lack of use to waste away or cause to waste away due to laxity in usage.
    When we refuse to use our gift(s) to the greatest capacity bestowed on us we hinder our local body of Christ; the Body is crippled. When we remove our gift from the local Body when we have not been instructed to do so by the Lord we deprive that Body, disable and impair that particular Body of Christ. It is a serious thing when we make an exclusive determination to abondon one’s post, depriving that particular Church of your God-given gift to that church….that is…YOU!.

  4. Paul said, ‘about the spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant” but many of us are. We think if we are not the Apostle or the Pastor then we don’t count. But Paul says, “…there is absolute necessity for the parts of the body that are considered the more weak. And those parts which we consider rather ignoble are the very parts which we invest with additional honor and our unseemly parts, those unsuitable for exposure are treated with seemliness, modesty and decorum; which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so adjusted, mingled and harmonized and subtly proportioned the parts of the whole body, giving the greater honor and richer endowment to the inferior parts which lack apparent importance Thus, there should be no division, discord or LACK OF ADAPTATION of the parts of the body to one another but all the parts should have a mutual interest and care for one another in particular and the whole body, in general.” 1COR.12″22-25AMP)
    Oh the wisdom and Graciousness of our Loving Heavenly Father. He has proportioned all things well. We cannot improve upon HIS plan for HIS Body. Let us listen to Paul as he has received the Spirit of God on this teaching and rejoice in the gifts that we have been given…and in one another just as we rejoice over eyesight and hearing and touching and sensing and smelling….wonderful senses that God has equipped us with. Each gift is special. Let us regard one another in the same way in the mystical Body of Christ that we do when we rejoice over a healing, good health and well-working organs of our physical bodies.

  5. Excellent question. I am not sure of the answer but we could use the Scripture, ‘by their fruits you shall know them.” The manisfestation of the “recognizalbe fruit” of a gifting could identify the emergence of the gift?? I am just suggesting possibitlites for how to identify or judge. But the real answer, I do not know for sure.

  6. One of the best resources I can recommend for how to know your gift is Sara’s Biblical workbook, “The Four Bees, Finding Your Spiritual Gifts”. I found the content especially helpful when studied in a group context led by Sara such as many of us had the opportunity to do at one of The Daily Lily Retreats.
    Here are a couple of excerpts that help answer the question how to know your gift. “Study the Word of God. As you study the Word, you will find the promises that are needed to affirm, confirm and validate your abilities and gift)s).”
    “There are many things that may block your gifts, your creativity, your authentic self, from coming forth.”

  7. “How does one know their gift?” We had a lot of help with this at our retreat Debi has mentioned here. We learned alot about how hard bees have to work, just to make a little honey. Sara broke the lesson down into “four bees”…1) burgeoning 2)budding 3)blossoming 4)blooming. (Debi, with your skill and knowledge in horticulture, you immediately understood this, I bet?) I could type a long time on quotes from her book, but “my summed up idea” is TIME, WORK, and PRAYER. I will leave us with some quotes from page 2, of our workbook. Read with me: “Find your gift and use it. Leave it hidden and lose it.” “You are unique, there is not another you.” “Your gifts live and die with you If you don’t develop them they will not be used.” “You can accomplish much more than you think if you reframe your thinking.” And the verse she quoted at the bottom is in the book of Mark. 6:31 “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

  8. Hey, love the reminders from our retreat on our gifts. How easy it is to forget. So refreshing to be reminded. It is a coming away by yourself to a secluded place and rest a while.

    How needful are the words to each of us, “You are unique, there is not another you.” If we could just believe and trust God that He really knew what He was doing when He created us.

  9. There’s a quote by Robert Browning in Sara’s “The Four Bees” workbook that I think can help us address Sara’s concern above, “If we could just believe and trust God that He really knew what He was doing when He created us.”
    The quote says: “My business is not to remake myself, but make the absolute best of what God made.”
    Many of us spend so much time and effort thinking the ‘grass is greener on the other side of the fence’ that we don’t follow one of the important ‘rules of our beehive’ as outlined in the workbook….’bee thankful’. We are told in ‘The Four Bees’ to be happy, grateful and thankful for who we are and what our gifts are. When we complain about them we become a divided person and The Four Bees says “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
    I think if we are always wishing we could be ‘remade’ and be and do something other than what God made us to be and do, then we will not flourish in our gifts and we will not be a healthy, whole person. Instead we should do as Browning advised…”make the absolute best of what God made.”

  10. I am experiencing the power of the gifts of God in motion right now and what a Joy to be a part of God’s family. Our footnote giver and exhorter has just made the best ‘chicken salad and chicken rice soup’ know to man since the beginning of time and delivered to me to share with the sick.

    Debi and MG has maxed out the gifts of giving and serving to help make my job of “going and serving’ so easy. Chris, Tam, and Jon assisting in every way asked and not asked. Whoa, how did even God know that when hands work together and unity of heart unites for a purpose all’ hells fury of discouragement’ has to go.

    A Big shout of praise to all! Grace Grace Grace, what a word when we receive it.

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