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,” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, ESV.
I love birthday parties. I love the idea of celebrating another year of life, whether it be a two-year old with icing all over her face, or a teenager turning eighteen and enjoying pizza and video games with his family and friends before having cake and ice cream. It is fun to gather with family and friends, play games, fellowship together, eat together, and yes, give and open presents.
At almost every party, there are presents. Gifts brought to celebrate the individual—gifts that reflect his/her personality and interests. Each giver spends time thinking about what to get the birthday boy/girl, and they spend their time and effort to make sure the gift is ready for the party. The gifts are unique, are wrapped in different ways, and are given to enhance the celebration and appreciate the recipient.
What would happen if everyone brought the exact same gift? Instead of receiving a variety, what if everyone brought the exact same shirt, game, or novelty? What if each person wrapped his/her gift the exact same way? A pile of all white boxes with blue or pink bows—all identical, all stacked neatly on the table? As the receiver opened each one, and it was exactly the same, where would be the joy in that? It would be a true test of the recipient’s grace and manners to thank each giver sincerely and graciously as he opened the fifth polo shirt, or she got the exact same card game.
So it is with the church. God, the Master of gift giving (James 1:17), has given a variety of gifts to His bride, the church. He doesn’t send the same gift over and over, He doesn’t wrap each one exactly the same. He chooses a variety to send so that she can have the join of celebrating and putting those wonderful, varied gifts to good use.
We have to celebrate the diversity God has given His church. He is thoughtful and wise about what gifts He sends to His church, and He wraps each one in a unique and pretty package, a vessel chosen by Him. He gives His gifts to enhance the celebration of life He has given to His church, and we are wise to join in the celebration and appreciate each other’s talents and ministries. As the recipients of His gifts, we can sincerely and graciously thank Him for His thoughtfulness and gracious gifts, and we can be a part of the celebration.
Thought-provoker: Are you appreciating the variety of gifts God has sent to His church? Are you joining in the celebration, or are you insisting the gifts be the same?
Lord, thank You for Your wisdom in sending a variety of gifts to Your bride, the church, so there is a variety of reasons for celebration. Help us to appreciate the diversity and to enjoy the good things You have provided so Your church can move forward. Amen.