The Corinthian church had been richly blessed. They had received many gifts to enrich their worship services and empower their service to others. The Corinthians didn’t see their blessings. Their pride caused them to think that their gifts made them special, while at the same time envying the gifts of others. Somehow they felt that they had earned their gifts rather than admit that all that they had were gracious gifts from God.
Paul addresses the situation in Corinth by stressing the idea of gifts. There are a great variety of gifts, services and activities, but they are all given to God’s people by the Holy Spirit. Also, Paul points out that all of God’s gifts are given for the common good and not to boost an individual’s ego or standing in the community.
Pride and envy are common among God’s people. If we are honest, we see it all too often in our own lives. Like the church in Corinth, their presence can be devastating. Seeing life from the perspective of gift can counteract those characteristics. When we see what we have not as achievement but as gift our pride is change to humility. We can be content with what we have when we trust in God’s love and that God will give us the gifts that we need. That same trust enables us to be thankful for the gifts that others have received. We have a lot for which to be thankful and nothing for which to be proud or complain.
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.