Are the ones gifted by the Holy Spirit a select few? Is it only the leadership of the church or perhaps the more mature Christians? Do I have a spiritual gift?
Divisions in Corinth abounded (1 Corinthians 1:10-11) for various reasons, one of which was the idea that those who displayed spectacular gifts were spiritual, while others who did not display such manifestations were not.
In 1 Corinthians 12:1-3, Paul addressed the question of who was spiritual by stating that all who profess faith in Christ are spiritual, for no one is able to express genuine faith in Christ apart from the Spirit’s work.
Paul continues to undermine the basis for the boasting of the pneumatics (i.e., those who think they are spiritual because of the manifestation of spectacular gifts) by reminding them that All who have the Spirit are also gifted with gifts of the Spirit: charismata.
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. . . . All these (gifts) are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11)
In other words, no one has any basis upon which to boast about spiritual giftedness, because each Christian not only has the Spirit but also has spiritual gifts (charismata). This was, after all, part of the promise of the new covenant (Acts 2:39) – that ALL God’s people would manifest the Holy Spirit:
And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18, ESV)
Therefore, not only may no one boast about their giftedness, no one may excuse themselves from service, for each Christian is gifted FOR service, for the common good: i.e., the profitability of all.
So, if you are a Christian, you are gifted by the Spirit for ministry! Do you believe that? If so, then serve! We are not to be consumers; consumerism is contrary to the gospel and contrary to the Spirit’s work in us. May the Lord forgive us for our American evangelical McChurches, where we invite people to “sit back, relax and enjoy the show.”
The use of spiritual gifts is a stewardship through which we not only build up the body but also glorify God!
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11, ESV)
Therefore, do not neglect the gift given to you by the Spirit (cf. 1 Timothy 4:12-14)!