This article is an excerpt from Priceless: Finding Your Value in God, a 6-week study from the Winter 2016 Bible Studies for Life. Learn more about this curriculum and preview three sessions for free at lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife.
Used in God’s Service
For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body.” —1 Corinthians 12:12-16
It’s the thought that counts.
That’s what our parents taught us when we received a gift that was ugly or “unique.” The giver may have meant well, but you knew never in a million years would you use it, wear it, or display it.
Every newly married couple can point to at least one item they received at a shower that may be very nice, but they know they’ll never use it—like an avocado pitter or moose head bookends.
Yes, we know it’s the thought that counts, but what good is a gift if you’ll never use it?
We’ve probably all been guilty of giving just such a gift. We know we need to give something, but we just don’t know what to give. We search the aisles until we finally find something and hope it’s “just what they always wanted.”
Meanwhile, they sit across from you, smile sweetly, and thank you as they think to themselves, “It’s the thought that counts.”
God gives gifts too, but He knows exactly what you need. You may not know it at the time, but the gifts He gives—spiritual gifts—are perfect for you. You might wonder at first how you’ll use it, but as we see in this study, God has a plan for you and your gift.
And He expects you to use it.
When we see a friend, we don’t see him as a collection of hands, feet, facial features, and kneecaps. We see him as one complete person. Jesus is the same way with His church. He sees us—individual believers—comprising a single body, the church.
Paul wanted to make it clear that all believers—regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender—are part of Christ’s body, the church. Racial and social diversity exists in the church—“whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free”—but we all have the same Holy Spirit.
The church in Corinth had factions (see 1 Cor. 1:10-13). It appears that even how they viewed their spiritual gifts caused conflict. When some people become proud and arrogant about what they do, it can make others feel inferior—and that causes disunity.
Ever feel that way—like a nobody? Some people thrust that feeling on us by their boastfulness, while others play the comparison game. It’s easy to play. Look around and you can always find someone who is better than you are at something. It’s all too easy to compare yourself with others and feel like you’re less than someone else.
It’s especially sad when we play the comparison game inside the church. Paul wanted to correct that. “If the foot should say, ‘Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,’ in spite of this it still belongs to the body.”
Your role in the body of Christ may not be as visible as others, but it is no less important. Your spiritual gifts are important, and the way you use them in the body of Christ is important. The bottom line: inferiority has no place in the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit that lives in your pastor is the same Holy Spirit that lives in you! No one has a corner on the Spirit. We who believe all have the same Spirit in equal measure.
Excerpted from Dr. Grant Ethridge, Bible Studies for Life: Priceless © 2016 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.