Focal passage: 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, 21-26
I have mentioned previously that I was a Registered Nurse before I was a pastor. My primary area of work was cardiovascular nursing. We would primarily serve heart patients but would occasionally encounter someone who had suffered a stroke.
As a result of losing blood flow to some part of the brain, the stroke patient would often lose some type of body functionality.
He could have an ocular stroke and lose his vision. Or he might have a more substantial stroke and lose the function of one whole side of his body.
These affected parts are not only unable to carry out their function, but other body parts then have to accommodate that lack of function.
I’ve seen patients have to use their left arm to pick up and move their no longer functioning right arm.
I can’t help applying that background to what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12 regarding spiritual gifts. Paul is clear that God has given every single part of His body gifts to utilize, not for the sake of the individual himself, but for the building up of the body of Christ.
There are several truths we must not miss here. First, God the Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts to the children of God (we don’t get to determine our own giftings). Second, every body part is important – put in place by Christ and gifted by the Spirit – serving a particular function for the benefit of the body. Third, there is no time to “take a break” from serving Christ. With Christ as our head, we are to give ourselves daily in service to Him for His glory and the building up of His body.
So many in the church today act like those stroke-affected body parts – present but not functional, requiring others to try to work around them or make up the loss. As a result, our churches are struggling to function as Christ intends, with every part functioning and serving with Christ as head.
May we each utilize our spiritual giftings for the glory of Christ and the building up of His church!