Using Your Gifts to Unite in Love
by Krista Wagner Intent
If you are a parent of more than one child, then you know how fights can sometimes break out between them. Parenting can be challenging and Living in close quarters with those you love can do that at times. And it can be difficult for us to be kind or tolerant, much less respectful toward others whose opinions differ from our own. But today, in a Bible Study with my kids, Acacia, 13, Trina, 11, and Paul, 10, we went over 1 Corinthians 12 about the Use of Spiritual Gifts and they found a better way to treat each other, even when they disagree, a better understanding of how to come together.
In this chapter, the apostle Paul stresses the unity that we are to have in the body of Christ. Even though we are many members, we are all one. That word, "one", is a major focus throughout his message. As part of the study, I asked the kids to document key words they heard from the chapter. Together, they came up with the following: "varieties", "different", "one", paying special attention to those phrases that Paul emphasizes throughout.
We learned that the body of Christ has many members, like our own bodies, but that each part/member is no less significant than the other. The hand is just as important as the foot just as each one of us is of equal importance. Paul goes on to document a number of different gifts like prophesying and teaching and how no one gifts deserves more praise than another. I asked my kids to think about what their gifts were and to share how they might use them. Paul said that he could help others learn how to play a game or to share with them the name Jesus on a community Minecraft PC game. Trina said she could use her gift of drawing to represent the Bible stories. Acacia said she could speak to others and ask them questions about their beliefs.
We also learned that our gifts combined to work together make the most effective kind of 'body'. We must be in unity. I asked them how we can continue to refrain from fighting and to come together in peace. They all answered alike: by praying. This was the foremost method to ensure unity. Trina chimed in that seeing other perspectives were essential too, which drove us back around to one of the main themes in 1 Corinthians 12: Unity. "The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." Paul's stress on togetherness is apparent and he highlights the agony that comes when we fall apart in our relationships. God did not intend for there to be division between believers, but rather peace.
I then had them come up with a 'game plan', a way to encourage harmony and to edify one another, especially when it's hard and when there's a broken bridge in the way. Trina's response was to have positive motivation and reinforcement: "Together we win!" and Acacia exclaimed, "We need to work together! We can share each other's thoughts in order to come up with something big!"
Lastly, I asked them what the most important ingredient was for sharing their gifts. They all agreed, as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12, that it was Love.