When I was a young boy I was a reasonably talented sports person. I am not sure what it is about physical skill and coordination at that age, but the kids who are good at sport seem to be admired and respected by the other kids.
I was one of these kids that was admired and respected by other kids. I was first picked for anything sporty and active, always had a little entourage of friends and associates. Although I wasn’t an arrogant child, there was still a part of me that thought that my skill made me more important than others.
If I knew then, what I know now, I would be fully aware that my pride in my talent and gift wasn’t beneficial. There was nothing wrong with having the gift, it was my pride that came from having it that caused grief at times.
This is the same kind of thing that Paul was dealing with when he wrote to the Churches of God in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (ESV)
4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul is gently dealing with an issue that had arisen in the Churches in Corinth, that of pride and unity. Those who were wealthy and/or well respected, looked down on the poor and social outcasts. Those who were more talented in speech and knowledge looked down on those who were not so eloquent or knowledgeable.
Paul confronts pride and unity in two ways:
God enriches our talent
Paul writes that in Corinth that they had natural gifts and talents that were from God, which they had even before they accepted Jesus as their LORD and Saviour. However, when they turned to God their gifting were enriched and served a greater purpose.
We may have lots of natural gifts, there are those who are not believers who have gifts and talents. Even still, it is God who gives purpose to these God given natural giftings, it is God who takes our talents uses them for eternal purposes. Therefore, how can we be prideful when the valuable part is added by God?
You are a talented and gifted person. You are enriched by God. Don’t let pride take your focus off God’s sovereignty and goodness in your life.
Enriched Gifts promote unity
This explains the result of proper or improper use of gifts. Paul is laying out the argument that the call of God includes a call to be a part of a team, and every good team requires unity.
Pride is one of the biggest contributors to disunity amongst the Church body. While pride may not necessarily be as overt as a “Look at me!” attitude, it can also be “I know best!”, or even as subtle as “No one has asked me…”. All these thoughts or statements are rooted in pride.
The wrong or improper use of the gifts is a process that leads to disunity. However, unity is found in the fellowship of Christ and is expressed in the God given gifts that He enriches.
We each have a responsibility to unity. Why? Because unity is the sign of fellowship with Christ, humility and the proper use of God’s gifts. You can only control how you respond to the instruction and call of God.
Psalm 133:1 (ESV)
133 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Will you play your part in unity?
Let me encourage you to be vigilant against pride, limiting its impact in your life. Strive for unity, allowing your purpose to be found in God. In this you will experience God’s will for your life.
In faith, hope and love
Steve and Cass Abram