For The Common Good

February 15, 2010
Listen to this devotional:

1 Corinthians 12:4-8 – There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit. (NIV)

As a child, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to teach and sing and inspire others with my gifts of music and the usage of the Word. As I grew older, I couldn't understand why God did not give me these gifts that I wanted so desperately.

I trained as a secretary, back in the days when shorthand was a necessary skill. I worked with other people's words, transcribing them into documents that helped the wheels of the business world turn, and providing an income for myself.

As the years went by, I found a church that would let me work with children and develop my teaching skills, but musical abilities have continued to evade me. I stayed near the church because it was the only outlet I had for my feeble talents. The church was the only institution that appreciated the meagre offerings I possessed.

There were many people in the church who were gifted far more than I was. I struggled with envy, because I thought the Spirit had blessed them far above me. I did not want to be one of those "for the common good" people.

The church became my spiritual family. (Envy is common in all families.) The friends I made have been priceless, as they shared their "common" gifts with me. No one single gift, such as teaching or singing, ever elevated me above others.

I realized that being elevated above others would have prevented me from enjoying the common gifts we all shared. My gifts enabled me to be a useful part that helped make up the whole unit. Through our shared unity, we had blessed each other.

We must never discount our ordinary gifts as being worthless, or fail to use them "for the common good" of all God's people.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for our spiritual gifts that allow us to blend in and work alongside our Christian brothers and sisters. These shared gifts, given for the common good of all, not only make our own lives complete, but complete the work of Your whole church. Thank You for our shared gifts. Amen.

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Ivie Bozeman <>
Thomasville, Georgia, USA

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