* New Testament Reading: 1 Corinthians 12
Psalms Reading: Psalm 59
* Old Testament Reading: Leviticus 25-27
My parents tried very hard to treat me and my sisters equally. Especially when it came to spending money or giving gifts. The idea that one might get more or better than the other, or perceived more or better, has made gift giving stressful for them. And now there are grandkids and great grandkids! We chose to handle gift-giving a little differently. Of course, we try to be close in what we spend, but if a gift is found that someone really wants or needs we go with it. Whether it’s a little more or less than the others.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us of God’s gifts. The first important thing to note is that it says in verse 7 that “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit..” Everyone who is part of the body of believers has been given Spiritual gifts. That means you if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. The end of verse 7 tells us why. It says, “…for the common good”. We are to use the gifts given to us for the common good of the church – to support, encourage, build up, protect, provide for, teach, etc. This chapter describes many of these gifts. We are told that there are many gifts, but that they all come from the same Spirit. Verse 18 says, “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.“ As he chose. He gives us what we need, what he wants us to have, not what we want or wish for. Think for a minute about your church and the people in it. This verse is telling you that God chose each member, that he arranged them (gifted them) just how he wanted. Now think for a minute about where you might fit in. You see, God’s plan only works when everyone does their part; when everyone uses the gifts God has given them for the common good of the body.
Our passage in Leviticus demonstrates another parenting thought. When we wanted our kids to obey a specific command, we let them know what good things would happen if they chose to do so (we really built it up big). We also told them what would happen if they chose to disobey (we tried to make this choice sound horrible). We learned that oftentimes it is in the presentation. God wants his children to obey Him at all times. In Leviticus 26 God says, “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you….”. He lists rain in season, abundant harvests, security, peace, victories, and His presence (verses 3-13). He goes on to tell them, “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, then I will do this to you:…”. He then tells them that they will deal with panic, wasting disease, enemies eating their harvests, wild beasts, and be scattered among the nations (verses 14-33). The list for disobedience is long and nasty. It seems like such a “duh” decision. Of course they, and we, want the blessings and good stuff. But they didn’t always choose to obey. We don’t always choose to obey. Thankfully, God also provides a way for us to change our minds and make the right choice. Verses 40-45 say, “But if they confess their iniquity….then I will remember my covenant with Jacob…and Isaac…and Abraham…that I might be their God…”.
-Todd and Amy Blanchard
- There are a lot of Spiritual gifts “tests” online. And they can be fun to take. However, one of the best ways to know what your gifts are is to try some different ministries or acts of service. Which ones fill you up? Which ones drain you? Notice I didn’t ask which ones you were best at. God will help you learn. God will help you find courage. He will provide opportunities for you to grow in your gifts, so you don’t need to worry about doing it really well right away.
- What choices are you currently facing? Do any of them have the “duh” right answer?
- What traits did you find in today’s reading that describe God?