4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness…15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
1 Corinthians 12
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
My daughter played girl’s fast pitch in grade school. I spent hours helping her practice pitching and batting. I tried to teach her to bunt, but she never really cared about that. She always swung for the fence and usually got it there. I remember one game when a pitch came at her about a foot over her head. Everyone could see her eyeing it and rearing back for a mighty blow. The coach was screaming “Noooooo!” A second later the ball was screaming over the outfield fence.
I have to admit she must get it from me. If a full glass is good, one spilling over on the table and floor is better…right?
I recently saw a movie on Netflix; Finger of God. It’s about healing ministries around the world. I believe God can do whatever He wants. Sort of a “My house, My rules” thing, but universal. Jesus has been appearing to Muslims in the Middle East, leading them to Him where there are no bibles or preachers. Why not healing?
So I watched the beginning, and I was a bit skeptical. But as it went on, I realized this was no joke. All of these people in the US and around the world are the real deal. One case is when a minister was preaching about healing. There were about 20 blind people there. The preacher spoke of God’s ability to heal. The next thing he knew, a group of 3 and 4 year olds went to the blind people, and healed them all.
Unless you believe as a child…
I was inspired! I was about to run out the door, because I was going to heal someone! Our adult bible class at church had studied spiritual gifts. All I heard was “blah-blah-blah.” They were talking about hospitality, etc. I wanted healing, I wanted miracles to show God’s power, for a testimony that was undeniable.
Swinging for the fence.
Then we got to a passage; 1 Corinthians above. That list of spiritual gifts is in DESCENDING order. Healing and miracles are about halfway down the list. What tops the list? Wisdom, knowledge, and faith. From Romans; prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep…. associate with the humble.”
That’s us, my friends. You and I, this community, we share those top gifts of the Spirit. I never saw it that way before. Ever. I came to realize I’m the guy in the Ferrari who hopes he can get a Chevy Cobalt someday.
Christians are the walking wounded just like the rest of humanity. We’re hurt, hungry, lost, found, and lost again. My favorite description of Christianity: it’s hungry people telling other hungry people where the food is. Christians are simply people who found the food and are trying to tell the rest where it is. Which is hard when we sometimes forget where it is ourselves.
It’s like two old guys I saw my first time in a casino in Atlantic city. There was this crippled old guy in a wheelchair being pushed by an equally old, but still ambulatory guy wearing an oxygen tank and breather. There they were, making a beeline for the slot machines. Slowly, but a beeline none the less.
That’s Christianity; people on oxygen giving people in wheelchairs a push. And you and I are doing it with the top spiritual gifts right here in blogopolis.
We write about our struggles with health, with anorexia, quadriplegia, depression, parenting, anxiety, doubt, despair, and more. But we also write about our victories, our recoveries, and our relapses. And we all do it so eloquently with the spiritual gifts God has poured out on us, the gifts that we sometimes have a hard time seeing. We minister with our stories and our gifts. We do it very much like St. Paul – with thorns in our flesh.
I’ve never thought much of my gifts. It’s me here, right? I’m nobody. Speaking, communicating…I’ve done this since grade school. What I do is no big deal. It’s like a bird flying; it’s how she survives. Survives! Except I’m like a stupid bird who wishes he could swim like that fish over there.
So who are we? Following is part of the St. Crispin’s day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. King Henry spoke these inspirational words on the eve of a battle with the French who outnumbered them. Read it and think of our battles and the reward we strive toward:
“This day is call’d the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.” Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.” Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words— Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester— Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”
We few, we happy few, we band of bloggers!
Welcome to the battle, my friends! Fight it with the spiritual gifts God has given us!
See a modern rendering of the speech here: