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  • Chad Werkhoven

1 Corinthians 12:1-11 - Gift Exchange

Don't wonder if you have Spiritual gifts, know what they are and how to use them.

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Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 51

Q. How does this glory

of Christ our head benefit us?

A. First, through his Holy Spirit

he pours out his gifts from heaven

upon us his members.

Second, by his power

he defends us and keeps us safe

from all enemies.



These last few weeks we've been dwelling on some of the core doctrines the Bible teaches about Jesus: that He died, was buried, and rose again. After a short while, to the surprise of His disciples, He ascended to heaven where He now sits at God's right hand as head of His Church, while God rules all things through Him.

Like the disciples, we often stare longingly into the sky wondering why Jesus left us, but once again today we're reminded that this is all for our benefit. For Immanuel - that is, God With Us - is still very much right here with you, albeit not physically, but now in the person of the Holy Spirit, who was poured out on you when you believed.

In our circles we're often left thinking that there are two different types of Christians: the super Spirit filled type, and then just regular, ordinary church folks like us. This is not at all the case. If you are able to meaningfully confess that "Jesus is Lord," that is evidence enough that the Holy Spirit is in you, since such a confession is completely contrary to a sinful nature.

It is true, however, that the outward appearances of the Spirit differs from person to person. Some people have been gifted in ways that are easily seen and garner more attention, while others have gifts that may seem dull and boring in comparison.

But the final paragraph of today's passage illustrates that there are no unnecessary Spiritual gifts, because the flashier, more outwardly visible gifts are very much dependent on the solid, well grounded but slightly less noticeable gifts.

As Paul concludes in v11, "All these [gifts] are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines."

Dig Deeper

You've likely participated in some sort of gift exchange with friends or coworkers at Christmas time. Often some people will go home with a really awesome, useful gift, while others will end up with a meaningless lump that was traded off three times before it ended up in their lap. Or maybe you showed up at the office Christmas party but didn't realize you were supposed to bring a gift for the exchange, so you have to watch others give and receive while you sit empty handed.

This is often the way Christians feel about Spiritual gifts, and given the statistics, it's probably the way you feel.

If that does describe you, cling to the truth in 1 Corinthians 12. If you're a Christian - and you are if you can truly confess Jesus is Lord - then you have Spiritual gifts. Find out what they are (you'll be surprised how many there are). As much as you can, figure out why the Spirit "determined" to give you that gift, remembering that "the same God is at work" in every gift, regardless of how flashy or plain it may seem.

Then find out how to use the gift you have to build up Christ's Church. Make every effort (a phrase used throughout the New Testament) to train yourself, develop your gifts and utilize them often.

And remember, as the Catechism reminds you today, that while God certainly intends for you to use your gift to benefit the Church, He gave it (them?) to you for your benefit.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who is at work in this world through the Spiritual gifts He's given to His children;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to help you know what your gift(s) are and that He'll give you the strength and desire to use them to build the Church.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 24


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