Saturday, June 07, 2014

Embrace diversity

teamwork - team putting a puzzle together
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 12:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities but it is the same God who works all in all." 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Our focus verses talk about three means through which God works in and through the life of a believer and so the life of the church.

He gives GIFTS. I like how the Amplified enlarges on "diversities of gifts": "Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments [extraordinary powers of distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit] and they vary…" (1 Corinthians 12:4 AMP). Paul lists the gifts of the Spirit in verses 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 of our reading.

He works through MINISTRIES. [Ministries—diakonia—means service, ministering religion, charity, food.] It may require teamwork with each person willing to do what's required. A few years ago my husband and I worked in the Alpha ministry of our church—not as table leaders but as kitchen workers. When it came time for testimony night, the leader asked that we, the kitchen crew, be present to hear the testimonies so we would get a sense of what we had been a part.

He works through a diversity of ACTIVITIES. [Activities —energema—means "thing wrought" and "effect operation."] Verse 6 in the Amplified Bible explains it well: "And there are distinctive varieties of operation—or working to accomplish things—but it is the same God Who inspires and energies them all in all." (1 Corinthians 12:6 AMP).

To me this speaks of how people have different styles of working, taking different routes to the same goal. Some make detailed plans while others are open to whatever comes along. Some are organized, doing jobs ahead while others are last-minute, working best under pressure. Some have neat work spaces while others are most creative in chaos. The beautiful thing is there's no one right way. God is present and moving even in our different styles of working.

How freeing to know that we don't have to be like others in our gifts, our ministries, or our styles of working. When God the Holy Spirit lives in us, He will give the gifts we need for the ministry in which we're involved, to accomplish His work through us, as individuals and the church. We can not only embrace but celebrate our diversity!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your presence in my life. Help me to refrain from comparing myself with others in gifts, ministries and the way I work at things. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked AMP are taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (

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