Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: Unity In Diversity
By David F. Palmieri Sr.
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"Communion is strength; solitude is weakness. Alone, the fine old Beech yields to the blast and lies prone on the meadow. In the forest, supporting each other, the trees laugh at the hurricane."
This beautiful opening line excites me. I pray that it has captured your attention too. My desire is that you continue reading after I reveal that I borrowed this admirable quote from Dr. Charles H. Spurgeon. It is the best example I could think of to describe, in everyday language, what I believe is God’s plan for the “Body of Christ, the Family of God, the Church.” Planted alone in an open field we would most likely succumb to the wiles of the wind, but within the safety of a group we posses greater strength in numbers, as illustrated by the forest.
Our Lord knew that we needed each other, and in addition to the establishment of the,“Church,” He also provided us with, “spiritual gifts.” These are the tools we require not only to build the church, but also to maintain and nurture it in the ongoing battle against the “spiritual darkness” that surrounds us.
The various parts of “the body,” and the diversity of “Spiritual Gifts,” are generously depicted in the entire twelfth chapter of 1st. Corinthians, as well as in various other portions of Scripture. While attempting to circumvent the numerous “Theological,” interpretations of the “Spiritual Gifts, I want to focus predominantly on the purpose of the gifts in general. Toward that end I will concentrate mainly on topics mentioned in 1st. Corinthians, chapter 12.
In verse 4, we see and easily comprehend; “There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit.” Verse 7 proclaims, ”the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” At the moment of salvation, “each” believer is given at least one spiritual gift. One spiritual gift for the, “profit of all,” all being the church, the Body of Christ.
Chapter 12 continues on characterizing the church and comparing it to the parts of the human body. The Lord breaks it down to a level that we should all be able to understand. He states that while all of the parts have their own importance none is more important than the next. The lowly ear is just as important as the leg to the overall functioning of the body. The widow who humbly gives out of her own need is as important to the, “body” as is the high profile pastor or teacher.
"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (Vs: 26) Just like the human body all the parts suffer when something isn’t quite right. A toothache can make for a miserable day for the entire body. Likewise, a pain free day can make us feel alive and thankful. If the smallest part can have so much control over the human body consider the effects it must have on the, “body of Christ.”
God has established His church. He has equipped each member with a spiritual gift. We are His family, His body. Our instructions are to function as one body consisting of many diverse parts. His desire is for us to worship and honor Him. He has prepared us for the task He has given us. It is now our duty to follow His plan for us. We each, as individual members of the, “Body of Christ,” have an important job to accomplish as we strive to become more like Him and to fulfill His Great Commission.
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