Many Gifts, One Purpose
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12
Corn, also called maize, is the staple food in my home country of Mexico. There are so many different types. You can find yellow, brown, red, and black cobs, even ones with a wonderful spotted pattern. But people in the cities usually won’t eat the spotted cobs. Restaurateur and researcher Amado Ramírez explains that they believe uniformity is a synonym of quality. Yet the spotted cobs taste good, and they make excellent tortillas.
The church of Christ is much more similar to a spotted ear of corn than to a cob of just one color. The apostle Paul used the imagery of a body to describe the church, because even though we are all one body, and we have the same God, each of us has been given a different gift. As Paul said, “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12:5–6). Our diversity in the ways we help each other shows God’s generosity and creativity.
As we embrace our diversity, may we also make every effort to keep our unity in faith and purpose. Yes, we have different abilities and backgrounds. We speak different languages and come from different countries. But we have the same wonderful God, the Creator who delights in so much variety.
Father, may we make every effort to be one, respecting and valuing each other and our various gifts and talents.
Romans 12:6–8 and 1 Corinthians 12 provide important instruction about spiritual gifts: All Christians have been given gifts; all gifts have different but equally important functions; all are from God; and all are to be used to build up others in the church. We have no reason to boast about our gifts because they are products of God’s grace. “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:5–6).
How can you use your gifts to promote unity?