Relationships are a divine dance of receiving and offering to one another. We hear the music for this dance through the Holy Spirit’s action in our lives. Relationships take a level of vulnerability where we are open to receiving from others. Receiving from others validates their humanity in that they have something worth offering. We see God allowing himself to be vulnerable in creating humanity to co-rule with him. This co-ruling is not with a sword in hand but with a shovel. The image used of this co-ruling relationship is one of co-gardening. If God is willing to make himself vulnerable for the sake of relationship with us, we should be willing to make ourselves vulnerable for the sake of relationships with one another (Phil 2:5-11). When we enter into this divine dance together, we cultivate the soil as gardeners for God’s new creation to grow (2 Cor 5:17).
We’ve talked over the last two weeks about being in a position to receive from others. For the next two weeks, I want to look at the other side of this relationship and talk about what it means to offer. Take time this week to read through 1 Corinthians 12 focusing on the God-given gifts we each have and what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.
Paul addresses a lot of issues in 1 Corinthians but the major theme that runs through the entire letter is the theme of unity. There are divisions in the church. What are they divided on? Just about everything. Mostly, they are divided on socio-economic position and influence people have in society. The point Paul is trying to make is that all people, who come into the Kingdom through the grace of Christ, are equal in every way. All have received the Spirit. All have a gift to give. But if your gift is only used for self-gratification then it isn’t of God. All gifts are to be used “for the common good” (12:7). If you do not use your gift for the common good of the Body of Christ, then can you say that you are part of the Body?
Being a Christian means entering into the messiness of community and relationships. As you read through 1 Corinthians 12, here are some questions to wrestle with:
Does everyone have a gift to give?
If someone has a God-given gift, should that gift be excluded from being used for the common good of the church?
What does this passage say about the celebration of diversity that should be experienced within the church?
If you never offer anything for the common good, are you a healthy part of the body?
What gift do you have that you can use for the common good of the church?