May 28

1 Corinthians 12:3b-8

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” vs. 7

It had become obvious to the Corinthians that there were differences among them, and as is the custom among sinners, they believed that those differences marked a kind of hierarchy. Some of them had greater gifts, ones that were of more value, and they would of course hold dominant positions in the community. In others gifts were negligible or maybe lacking altogether, and those persons would naturally be of less importance. In the Church, according to that thinking, some few would be bishops while others, more in number, would be parking lot attendants, or their first century equivalents. Paul detested that kind of thinking and he takes pains to set the Corinthians straight. He insisted that all persons were gifted; each had been touched by the Spirit of God, and every one of them was important in the life of the community. And more significantly, none of them was to be considered as any more or less important than anyone else. How ironic, given the plainness of Paul’s direction, that the Church turned into one of the most rigidly hierarchical systems in the world. Men, always it was the men, battled fiercely for the most powerful positions and they hung on to those spots until they died. But not always! At some times and in some places, Paul’s words have been remembered. Believers are encouraged to identify their gifts and to put them to use in the life of the community for the common good, and surprise, surprise, blessings always abound!

Thought for the Day: What are my gifts and how do I use them?

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