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1 Corinthians 12:1-11 “Gifts for Good” JUMC 20130120

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12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3 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.
  4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 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.
11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. [NRSV]

Our Congregation is teaming with talented people.

We have a surplus of gifts… Do you know the some of the favorites?

  • To some we hear the gift of Complaint
  • Some have the gift of Blaming
  • Others have the gifts of Worry
  • And to some the gift of Apathy
  • Still others have the gift of Fair-weather Participation.

Each is given according to the spirit of false faith..

These are not gift of the Holy Spirit! This are not what we are called to be known and witness!

Seriously, we need to look at listen to ourselves and the tools we turn to first when solving a problem or even listening to one another.

The gifts give in the 12th chapter of first Corinthians is not an inclusive list of the ONLY gifts of the spirit. These are samples of how we experience God’s spirit at work through one another.

Various Gifts, Services, and Activities

  • Wisdom,
  • Utterance of Knowledge,
  • Faith,
  • Healing,
  • Miracles,
  • Prophecy,
  • Discernment,
  • Tongues of praise and Tongues of interpretation.

Each is given for the common good

..and may not be enjoyable by the bearer.

This is the test of the purpose of Spiritual Gifts. They are not for us. They are for the community. The community of faith, the extended community or even for the world.

But they are not for our personal benefit alone. This is a very good measure and guide for understanding our spiritual growth and maturity.

All are activated by the Holy Spirit.

The key difference between our talents, skills and experiences and Gifts of the Spirit, is the the power source.

If we have trained and done our best we might become more ready to serve, but the gift is the work of God’s action through us.

Where have all the Spiritual Gifts Gone?

As we look around, we don’t see many healers, we don’t have too many who teach, we don’t hear too many different languages spoken, and we are running short on current miracle stories most Sundays.

It is our tendency to think that Spiritual Gifts are for the Disciples, the Early Church or for some other denomination. United Methodist have been rich in gifts of the spirit but where are they now?

This is the So What part of the passage. Is this text relevant to us now? Are we gifted people?

I would say, We Can Be, We Might Be, and We Most likely Are.

But we would be scared to admit it or let them show if we were.

  • The Gift of Hospitality
  • The Gift of Insight.. seeing what others see
  • The Gift of Grace.. forgiving before we are asked to
  • The Gift of Get-it-done.. Starting and finishing a task without permission
  • The Gift of Trust and Confidence.. Keeping a confidential information confidential
  • The Gift of Giving.. Over a half million dollars in a down economy speaks loudly
  • The Gift of Letting Go and Not Holding a Grudge.. because it makes you too tired to keep up the fight
  • The Gift of Letting Go of Money, Food, Clothes, Time to enable someone else to live, eat, work, or grow
  • The Gift of Cooking.. When others would rather eat.
  • The Gift of Dish washing.. When others are leaving for home.
  • The Gift of Teaching.. When others have their done-that TShirt
  • The Gift of Driving.. To give a ride to someone who is stuck at home
  • The Gift of Leading.. When others would sit back and wait
  • The Gift of Singing.. When some would keep silent
  • The Gift of Trying a New Thing.. When the old, familiar things suit you just fine.
  • The Gift of Bring a friend.. When others stay at home with their friends
  • The Gift of Grace.. When you are able to see with God’s heart and eyes, the world is not winning, not hopeless. The Spirit is Real and with us, still.

These are the gifts, and services and activities that I see and hear and experience…

They are activated by the Holy Spirit, because we are too lazy, selfish and tired to do them on our own.

These are the signs of God at work..

And the Good News is: There are other gifts, through other folks just like you and me. None of them have to be the same, but all together they are the Holy Spirit With us.

Praise the Lord.

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