Reflection for Tuesday 15th September 2020

Jon Ellis

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1 Corinthians 12: 12-14, 27-End

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.


Although the members of the church at Corinth were highly favoured with spiritual gifts, they do not seem to have known how to use them. They did not know how to put them to proper use in the service of God. The apostle Paul therefore reminds these gift-exalted Corinthians that, only a little while before, they were heathens, carried away by falsehood and superstition, and worshipping dumb idols. They had nothing, therefore, to boast of.

They professed to be under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and yet they stood up, and called Jesus accursed.
Where there is no rule nor order, something will go wrong before long. Paul made sure they understand that this kind of talk had to be challenged.

The gifts are given that we benefit, and also those who are in the church as a whole. Paul lists the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working miracles, prophecy and discerning spirits, tongues and interpretation. Whatever our gifts may be as a church, or as individuals, they all come from the very same Spirit. This should promote unity among us

v14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.

Here is a lesson for us, always to take most notice of those who are the least noticeable, and to be most gentle with those who require the most tenderness. We know that there are some of our fellow members who are not all we should like them to be. We should try, as far as ever we can, to adapt ourselves to them. Let us give “more abundant honour to that part which lacked.”

At my last church, someone made a video showing one person trying to do all the jobs: leading, preaching, praying, playing the piano, the drums, the guitar, stewarding the car park, mowing the churchyard, cleaning the toilets, polishing, even cleaning the vicar’s shoes! It was double speed and set to the tune that accompanies Benny Hill’s mad movies. A very amusing way to show that one person cannot do it all.

Sadly, that can become the case if we do not acknowledge the need to recognise and use the gifts that God has given each member in the church, to bring us together in one body.

Merciful God,
your Son came to save us
and bore our sins on the cross:
may we trust in your mercy
and know your love,
rejoicing in the righteousness
that is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen