I have been reading through 1 Corinthians the last couple days and I felt punched in the gut when I got to chapter 12. I have been a Christians for almost 11 years and in the full time ministry for 3 years. I am absolutely grateful that God saved me and I feel incredibly blessed that he called me into pastoral ministry.
With that said, there sure are times when sitting on the sidelines looks nice. I can’t be the only pastor that feels this way. As a pastor it can also be disheartening seeing so many people claiming the name of Jesus yet sitting on the sidelines week after week.
Possibly why it can be disheartening is because of the seasons when it looks so attractive. There are certainly weeks were a “regular 9-5 job” and getting to simply “attend church” with my family sounds awesome. What 1 Corinthians 12 shows me, though, is that really isn’t an option for any Christian. In this chapter Paul is clearly laying out that every single Christian has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit to contribute to the common good. We all ought to be working for the edification of the saints around us and the common good.
For myself, when the sidelines look nice I can usually find selfish, ungodly reasons for why the sideline is all of a sudden so attractive. Typically, I hate the sidelines. I want to be in the middle of the madness.
When the sidelines look attractive I have to remind myself of three great truths that 1 Corinthians 12 pulls out:
- “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” God does not make mistakes and he knows what he is doing. He has put us in the game for a reason.
- “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit.” It can make us very tired when we start functioning out of our own power and might. Why weren’t only given gifts by the Holy Spirit, He is also the one who empowers us for the work. We can lean on him.
- “For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” Paul spends two full paragraphs making the point that though we are all very different we quite desperately need one another. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines because it isn’t only us that it affects.
Here is a quick summary of how it looks in 1 Corinthians 12:
- God has saved us and manifested his Spirit to us for the common good.
- We each have received specific gifts and are empowered by the Spirit to use those gifts.
- God has arranged it in a way that all gifts are needed for the health of the church and the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Fellow Christians, I know the sidelines can look nice, but we only have one race to run. God has graciously saved us and now he empowers us. Let us live out what we have received from the gospel of God through the Spirit of God.