Summary: We so often think that we are not worthy to do anthing in the kingdom, but we need to understand that Jesus has given us purpose and value and that He has an amazing plan for each of us to participate in the family of God.
Core Value 4:- Don’t be ignorant about spiritual gifts
There is a saying which goes, “Ignorance is bliss”.
Parents sometimes use this line of thinking in parenting:-
You are faced with the situation we all dread when your six year old comes up, “Where did I come from?” “Weeellll ... you came from Mum’s tummy”.
They’ll have enough time to discover the facts later … in the meantime ignorance is bliss – especially for those who doesn’t want to answer that question.
But sometimes ignorance is not bliss. It happened when we were teaching our daughter a how to ride a bike. It took some time. Eventually we got her going and because we were learning we were always on flat ground. A week later she was riding down a hill. And she just kept going and smashed into the gutter. It was only then I realised that I had taught her how to go, but I had forgotten to teach her how to brake.
In that case ignorance is not bliss.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss, sometimes it isn’t. And one of those times when it isn’t bliss is mentioned in the Scriptures.
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-7
Paul is pretty emphatic
I do not want you to be ignorant.
I do not want you to be uniformed.
There are issues where ignorance is bliss ... but this is not one of them.
Paul is so concerned about the issue of spiritual gifts that he devotes three chapters to the issue – namely chapters 12, 13 and 14. These first 7 verses of chapter 12 serve as an introduction to the whole topic.
So let’s start off with a very basic question:-
What is a spiritual gift?
The simple answer is that they are gifts we have which enable us to do works of service in God’s Kingdom through the power of the Spirit of God.
They are not natural talents ... although they might flow out of our talents.
They are not learnt skills ... although we can grow our spiritual gifts.
They are the contributions we make to God’s Kingdom because God’s Spirit is in us.
I know a preacher called David Jones. He is an exceptionally gifted preacher and people come from all over the place to hear him. A few years ago my wife and I had a chance to get together with him for coffee and we were really excited about the idea. But the whole meeting was very arkward and David turned out to be a very quiet man who found interpersonal communication difficult. He admitted that he often allowed his wife to carry the conversation. His ability to preach the way he did was a spiritual gift.
I also know a lady called Anne Jones. Anne had always been shy and reclusive a person who never invited friends over. One day discovered who Jesus is. From that day she became a person with incredible hospitality skills. Here home was a haven for everybody. It was a spiritual gift that God gave.
We could tell story after story; but the end result will be the same. When we become Christians we have a gift. But there are so many people who think otherwise.
They feel they are inadequate.
They feel they have nothing to give.
They feel unwanted and unneeded.
They don’t hear the teaching of the Scriptures. Further on in this passage Paul says:-
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given
For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
I don’t think Paul could make it any clearer.
There is not one Christian who can say, “I don’t have a spiritual gift.”
There is not one Christian who has a reason to feel cheated or that they have missed out.
There is not a Christian here who has not been supernaturally enabled by God to do something important and valuable for this body of believers.
Don’t be ignorant about these things.
But that is not all. We should also not be ignorant about the way that God goes about distributing the spiritual gifts. There are different kinds of gifts – says Paul in verse 4. To see what he is saying we need to talk a little bit of Greek. There is a word that we commonly use to describe an act of God to us – the English word is grace.
English “grace” ... Greek “karis”
Paul has been talking about gifts ... the spiritual gifts. That is the English translation.