What Someone Else Has (1 Corinthians 12:4)

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:4

I have noticed that there is a very human tendency to want whatever it is I do not have. Paul, in speaking of the gifts given by the holy Spirit to believers, notes early on that there are several varieties of gifts, but only One Giver of those gifts. And that Giver — the Holy Spirit — divides to each of us as He wants. There is purpose and plan and a design that would boggle my tiny little mind if I could see it, but the Holy Spirit does not give me a view of the whole picture, only my place in it. And, unfortunately, I can also see what the believers near me have.

In grade school, it was often the case that there would be lunch swapping going on. All the kids would open up their lunch bags and set down their trays and start bargaining over who could get what from whom. This never really stopped. As I grew older, the things swapped changed, but it was always a question of getting what someone else has. The whole concept of commerce is based on me wanting or needing what someone else has. This gives rise to a problem in my walk with God: I am not allowed to swap gifts with other believers. I may have the gift of teaching and prefer the gift of speaking in tongues and someone else may speak in tongues but want the gift of prophecy. The issue that I run into is that the Holy Spirit gave me the gifts I have and He gave them with a purpose.

While I might think speaking in tongues would be awesome (I don’t) or that being a great evangelist would be stellar (not at all, crowds make me uncomfortable), the Holy Spirit has given me gifts that are tailored for the work He has in store for me. Ephesians 2:10 tells me that God prepared good works for me before I was even born so that I might walk in those works. Then the Holy Spirit came along and gave me gifts that equip me for those works. I cannot accomplish the good works God has prepared for me with what someone else has — their gifts are meant for their good works, not mine. Let me learn contentment and learn to use the gifts that the Spirit has given me for the good works which God prepared for me.


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