For the Common Good
1Cor. 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
The reminder again and again to the church in Corinth was that they were a body, one which collectively was to reflect Christ. Therefore as the Spirit bestowed upon them spiritual gifts they needed to understand that these were for the community of believers, not for their own personal edification.
The concern within the body of Christ is to live for others. The gifts are to be used for others and therefore there is no place for complaint. Whether larger or small, the gifts, when combined provide for the edification of the entire community and they fit together for God’s purposes. We don’t have capacity as individuals for all the gifts and that’s why they must be shared. The private gift becomes the common when it is lived out in community for it belongs to all. There is caution here as well for the greater the gift, the greater the temptation to boast. The gifts must be submitted in humility before God so that they may be used for the common good.
I’m afraid that this idea of the common good is often overlooked. In our society we praise and recognize those who seem to have extraordinary talents and abilities and glorify them. Just a few decades ago the heroes of society were those who had excelled and showed competencies in particular ares of their lives. They were the presidents, leaders, astronauts and those within their communities who had been able to accomplish something significant that helped the entire society. Today we have made reality stars our new heroes and those who can make the most noise and are revered simply because they can get attention. They don’t have to accomplish anything for the greater good.
Could it be that this kind of attitude has also swept into Christianity? Instead of looking at the substance we are enticed by those who can grab the most attention and use their gifts for their own personal good, rather than the edification of the community. Our gifts and abilities are to be brought into submission before the Father and used for kingdom purposes.
Never be deceived into believing that what you have is better or worse than what anyone else possesses. That last small piece of the jigsaw puzzle is just as important as those corner edge pieces because without them all, the puzzle would still have a hole in it! If God’s people don’t unite together to use their gifting for the common good there will be a hole in his work. Submit what the Spirit has given you to the good of the community of faith. This is God’s intent.
Lord, please help me to serve you faithfully within my community. Amen.
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