I wonder if you have eyes to see the light God gave you. Or do you cower under it, emphasizing the little of the light?
Like Kate mentioned on Monday, do you look around the lanes next to you and see the grand sweeping giftedness of the women around you and feel miles behind? Does that get you hidin’ under a bushel? Or (be honest here), have you ever looked on the skills of another person and wondered what value it contributes to the kingdom (off the top of my head, a prolific bacon painter?) because we don’t have eyes like God to see how He pieces together all things for His good?
Paul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, knew these two temptations would be common to us when it comes to using the skills and spiritual gifts God Himself gives.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For 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 ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
First, the gifts are from God and for God.
When we see ourselves as receivers instead of self-made, we are free to steward our skills and celebrate them in others. Nothing withheld in us or our sisters. His glory is so very worth displaying.
Second, there are a variety. Lord, thank You that there is not one expression of service. We’re a nation that celebrates diversity, are we not? How wise and wonderful of God to empower with great diversity among His people!
Third, we are united in purpose. We are not serving in a vacuum, friends. Diverse in expression, singular of heart.
My tall, dark, and godly husband and I could not be any more different than we are. Introvert, extrovert. Verbose and slow to speak. Emotionally demonstrative, steady as a rock. Thinking and feeling. All the opposites. This can make for a World War in the walls of our home when we misunderstand or assume our own created way is better, or it can be a beautiful expression of the diversity of the body of Christ right within our microcosm of a marriage. Depends on the day. But the question we ask often to lay down our individualism and reconcile is this: “Whose kingdom are we fighting for?” The same can be asked of the bride of Christ.
Paul goes on to illustrate this with a funny chat analogy between body parts. A foot saying he’s not as much a part of the body as a hand. Rhetorical questioning if the whole body were an eye, what would the body do for hearing? An eye telling a hand it’s dispensable and weak.
He must have known well the human heart’s penchant to feel either “less than” or prideful about our spiritual gifts.
I’ve beheld friends paint word pictures in writing that blow my mind and expand my thinking of who God is.
Stomp into a creek bed fearlessly drawing timid children in to experience nature in squeals of newfound delight.
Colorfully ask questions that open up conversational doors and hearts to share the good news of Jesus.
Plan and shop and dice and sauté and serve a meal to break bread together.
Force air through vocal cords at just the right tension and velocity from a heart that delights to lead people to worship in song.
Strive over verb conjugations and unquantifiable nuances to learn foreign languages.
Sit cross-legged on the floor encircled by squirmy and chirpy little people, engaging them and telling the Greatest Story better and truer than Pixar.
Please don’t hide your light under a bushel! It’s by these lights that we behold Him who gave them. We are small but beloved flickering flames sourced from the Consuming Fire.
Lord, that we might have eyes to see the little lights, ours and our neighbors, and let them shine. Let them shine. Let them shine!