John J. Murphy is the author of “Pulling Together: 10 Rules for High-Performance Teamwork”. He writes … “Each individual has unique gifts, and talents and skills. When we bring them to the table and share them for a common purpose, it can give companies a real competitive advantage.” I am certain you will agree he is spot on! He is … but as Solomon says:
Ecc 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Why would I quote this verse? Because Paul under inspiration provides these very principles some 2000 years ago!
Ro 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
Within the Body of Jesus Christ (Church), each one belongs to each other and members of the Body have different spiritual gift mixes. This gift mix is given by the Holy Spirit when we are incorporated into God’s family. Everyone one without exception who is born again has a spiritual gift mix. When you are converted, the Spirit gifts you with it as He comes to reside within.
1Co 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
The manifestation of the Spirit relates to the distribution of the spiritual gift mix the Spirit gives to each believer. This gifting is not for your personal benefit. God gifts you for the benefit of the Body. It is for the common good … it is for the benefit of the Body. The Holy Spirit determines which gift each person in the Body needs to have and to use. He know exactly where He wants you to serve within the Body and He requires you serve there! It is important to note that no one may claim or demand a specific gift. It is not a person’s right to say … “I want such and such a gift” … or for some Church Leader to privilege themselves by saying you have such and such a gift. God is the Gifter and it is His right and privilege as King of the Kingdom to distribute spiritual gifts to His subjects according to His will and determination. God gives gifts according to the needs of the Body coupled to the ability of the various individuals.
1Co 12:14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Every spiritual gift is needed to make the Body work smoothly. When people refuse to use their gifts or are not taught to use their spiritual gifts, the Church becomes like a human body with amputated limbs. Then there are things the Body can’t do or will struggle to do. Such a Church never reaches its full potential in God’s Kingdom and the pastor together with one or two willing servants do all the work and never reach their unique potential because they are hamstrung by doing everything others should be doing but are not. Inevitably, the pastor and workers will burnout and even drop out of ministry. This is not because they failed but because the Body made them fail.
Eph 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
These verses are rather provocative! Unless all parts of the Body function correctly, fulfilling their purpose … the Church shall fail! God expects each member of the Body to do the work He has set apart for each one to do. He has actually crafted each believer the way He wants them to be and when He did this in eternity past, He prepared works of service for us to do.
Eph 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Now we are able to grasp why Barnabas went to collect Saul in Tarsus to assist him in ministry. Guided by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas saw Paul’s spiritual gift mix and how he could help God’s Kingdom advance. We shall return to this passage tomorrow. May God help you and me work at getting to know and develop our spiritual gift mix for service within the Kingdom.
Thank You, Lord, for giving Your Church everything necessary to make it work perfectly. Amen,