1 Corinthians 12:1-13
(click for full reading)
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”
In This Together
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
In recent weeks we have been focusing on spiritual gifts, Paul writes much about how each of us is blessed with special gifts which are given for the purpose of building up the community of faith. In our scripture reading from 1 Corinthians this week Paul writes, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
For the common good…
Luther put it this way in the large catechism: “There is on earth a holy little flock and community of saints under one head: Christ. It is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, mind and understanding. It possesses a variety of gifts, and yet is united in love without sect or schism. Of this community I also am a part and member, a participant and co-participant in all the blessings it possesses.”
Our congregation joined many others this week with a big celebration for Rally Day. Hundreds of people filled the church with energy and gratitude for the gift of this special community. We were reminded that God did not give the church to us. No, God says to us “you are the church, now give yourselves away for the sake of the world.”
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. I mentioned several people in the message this week that joyfully offered their unique gifts to build up the community of faith. Can you think of some people leaving that kind of legacy? If so, would you say that offering their gifts brings meaning and purpose to their life or stress and aggravation?
2. If you think of all the spiritual gifts possessed by the people of our congregation, what percentage of those gifts are being offered “for the common good” as Paul puts it? Are we running on 10% of our TCGP (total congregational gift power)? Is the number closer to 25% or maybe as high as 50% TCGP? What might happen if we increased our TCGP by 10%?
3. What percentage of your own TGP are you offering to build up your community of faith?
As your congregation storms off into the new Fall season, challenge yourself to get into the game and offer your unique gifts to help make things happen. Step into GroupLife or volunteer in one of our outreach ministries. You may want to start small or jump in with both feet but the important thing is to get in there so you can join Luther in saying “of this community I also am a part and member, a participant and co-participant in all the blessings it possesses.”