UNITED IN SPIRIT
1 Corinthians 12:4-14
There is a certain establishment whose sole business is the sale of cookies. Every week they offer different types of cookies. The consumer does not know in advance what the new week will bring. When you walk through the door, you are greeted with a friendly “Welcome!” and the sweet scent of large ovens filled with biscuits. It would be hard to frown in this place. They even have cold milk you can buy. It’s a good business model!
I know the church is not a business and shouldn’t operate as one, but there are some things we can learn from the cookie business. Paul repeats the word “varieties” and the theme of diversity in our Bible study. Like the cookie store, our churches should be filled with a variety of people, gifts, and talents. A church will only reach its full potential when the beauty of diversity is recognized and used.
My favorite cookie is oats and raisins, and my greatest contribution to the local church is preaching and teaching. It’s my combination. What is yours? Chocolate chip and song? Peanut butter and ministry to children? Every contribution is equally important and necessary to reach our communities and honor the Lord.
The Holy Spirit works through each believer for a singular common good. (4–7)
A common mistake of churches is to confuse the difference between conformity and uniformity. The true beauty of any church is discovered when the purpose is clearly defined and delegated to include all members of the body. We are not all called to do the same work, but we are called to the same result: to serve one another and to bring people to Jesus.
When you conform, your individuality is lost. In sameness, your uniqueness is celebrated and linked with others to achieve a goal. This reflects how wonderful God the Creator is. It connects us each differently but in a supernatural way. He alone can bring us together to make the mosaic complete.
The Holy Spirit works through us in different ways toward this common good. (8–11)
Who decides where you serve in the church? The answer should be the Holy Spirit. Yes, I am aware of the work of the nominating and personnel committees. Their role in most churches is essential. In a larger sense, these committees should simply notice the gifts and talents of others and provide them with an avenue for ministry. Pastor Tony Evans is credited with saying, “The Holy Spirit created our unity. It is up to us to preserve it. In an increasingly divided world, the local church should be a model of cooperation.
The Holy Spirit makes us one body. (12–14)
The church should be free from competition among members. No member is more important than another. A person’s heritage, personality, or financial or educational status should not be grounds for elevating anyone’s status in a church. It’s God’s church; ask him to rule over it.
By his atoning death, Christ earned the privilege of being the head of the Church. With Christ as our head, our opinions, preferences and wishes are secondary to the words and teaching of Jesus. What is remarkable with a body is that when a part is affected, the body reacts. A church should laugh, cry, celebrate and work together. This is one of the many reasons we call ourselves a church family. Better yet, try being a church full of cookies – hot and sweet!
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Mississippi