Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31
History and Context:
1 Corinthians was written by Paul while he was in Ephesus around 54 AD. In Acts 18 we see the funding of the church in Corinth. Paul spent 18 months there as he established the church. This letter is mainly a response to a letter which Paul recieved from the Corinthians. He says that some of what he heard about the church made him feel 'uneasy' (1 Corinthians 1:11; 5:1) and so he wanted to address these issues. He also answered questions which were presented in the letter. Corinth was a trade city that was known for being very corrupt. As people converted to following Jesus, they often did not realize that they had to leave their corrupt ways behind. Paul is mainly addressing a group of high status men who have become Christians but left their lives unchanged.
Paul is using an analogy of the body, saying that this is how the church is. We are all one body with Christ as our head. We all have different functions but should be working together after one goal, and that goal is put in place by our head, Christ. We all have different gifts, but we all are after the same thing, the spreading of the Gospel. He then ends by saying that we should desire the best gifts. In other words we should continually seek God for gifts and methods to be used by Him, but when the Holy Spirit uses another we should rejoice just as much as when He uses us. The more excellent way that Paul is referring to at the end of this passage is love, as we see in 1 Corinthians 13.
seek God for gifts, then use them to work together in unity towards the Gospel of Christ. The church today is constantly having problems with unity and it is hindering our progress in spreading the Gospel. Be a part of the solution and not the problem. Serve others in love, seek the gifts as methods to spread the Gospel, not as ways to increase your status. If each individual would begin to do this then the church as a whole would begin working as one body and we would reestablish our presence here in society.
Lord, I choose to lay down my pride and want to act in my role in this body. Lead me into the role that you have for me. Lead me into your gifts and calling. Help me to serve those around me in love. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen!