I once went on a short-term mission trip to Jordan not fully knowing why and feeling a bit uneasy. I knew I was to help at JETS seminary, but the group staying in Amman was going to teach adult Christian Iraqi refugees conversational English. I wasn’t. Shortly after arriving, it was evident there was a problem. The adults couldn’t leave their children at home, and brought them to class, especially in the evening. God ended up using me in Jordan to teach about 30 beautiful, well-behaved Iraqi children conversational English and some bible songs for good measure. I had not prepped, had to scrounge for supplies and thoroughly enjoyed every minute with them. I loved teaching, and the children learning!

When Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:1, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed,” it’s possible the problem the Corinthians were having had to do with those among them who were thought to be “more spiritual,” because they seemed to have more spiritual abilities than some others. The Corinthians, in spite of being well taught, were still “unaware” or “ignorant” of what true spirituality was.

The ancient Corinthians had all the gifts (1:7) needed for building a strong local church, yet were very unspiritual and selfish people that divided and hurt each other. So they needed Paul’s help and he gave it to them willingly. Verse 1: “I do not want you to be unaware.”

Paul taught that every Christian has the potential to be spiritual. Every believer has a gift, or gifts, from the Holy Spirit. Not all gifts are as obvious or as public as others, but the same Spirit gives them away, for free, as He sees fit. He gives one or more spiritual gifts to every believer for the common good. Nobody acquires or earns their own gifts from God.

One reason we have spiritual gifts is to help strengthen other people’s faith. “Here is someone struggling; how can I help him?” Then do or say what seems most helpful, if the person is helped, you may have discovered one of your gifts.

We have the gifts already, we only need to take a leap of faith when we feel the Spirit nudging us to help whether in a ministry teaching, doing data entry, or going on a short-term mission trip. Would the Spirit nudge someone in that direction and withhold a needed gift to help accomplish what he nudged them to do? Ask the Lord to reveal how you might be used for the common good and trust he will help you. He wants you to use your gifts.

Deb Hill

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