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  • Chad Werkhoven

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 - Gifts With Strings Attached

God's depending on you to change the world by using your gift to build Christ's Church.

Read / Listen

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 55

Q. What do you understand by

“the communion of saints”?

A. First, that believers one and all,

as members of this community,

share in Christ

and in all his treasures and gifts.

Second, that each member

should consider it a duty

to use these gifts

readily and cheerfully

for the service and enrichment

of the other members.



We just read the first half of chapter 12 two weeks ago as we were reminded that as Jesus rules all things as head of His Church, He does so by pouring out gifts on us His members through the Holy Spirit. Although these are truly gifts in that we've not earned them and they come with absolutely no cost, the Spiritual Gifts you've been given do come with strings attached. Because you've been gifted, you're now obligated.

The gift you've been given as an individual is not meant to be used alone. In fact, Paul here reminds you that your overall purpose in life isn't just taking care of yourself and meeting your own needs, or even your family's needs. Rather, your primary purpose is building up the body of Christ.

Follow the logic that the catechism is reflecting these last few weeks:

Dig Deeper

You likely have a whole list of things you wish that were different in this world, and you've likely wondered why God doesn't just change this or that. Certainly God does have the power to miraculously change circumstances, and He does do that from time to time, but ordinarily God brings true blessing and shalom to the world by equipping His saints (that's you) to build His Church. So if you want things to get better, know and use your gifts.

The Apostles' Creed refers to the Church as a communion. You can see the similarity there with the word community. As our passage points out today, every saint plays a different role, but each part of the body is critically important.

There's a tension in today's text. On one hand, be content with the gifts you've been given and do not be jealous of what appears to you to be a more glamorous gift. But on the other hand, "eagerly desire the greater gifts (v31)" - literally seek them out. Work just as hard in your own life and especially the lives of our kids to develop their gifts as what we do to develop their academic and athletic gifts.

One of the biggest needs we have moving forward as we bring reformation to our Reformed denominations is for solid men to step up into the roles of elder and minister. How is God calling you to either support of fulfill this need in Christ's Church?

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be (v18)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for the gifts He's given you, and pray that you'll know what they are, how to use them and that you'll be content with your gift even as you eagerly desire greater gifts.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Romans 6


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