1 Corinthians 12
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 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.” On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.
The body of Christ, the Church, is described in organic terms. Paul wanted the early Church to know that there is diversity within the Body of Christ and that we need to understand this sense of difference if we are going to work together for God’s purposes.
When I was first ordained my sense of call and fidelity to vocation made me very impressed by persons who took stands, uncompromising stands. I can think back to people who then impressed me, they had told the Church they would not accommodate any demand apart from what they assumed was the Truth. I still admire them. Many stood for those whose voices were not heard then and I still take inspiration from those moral stands. But I now see many people confusing a moral stand for those who are not represented or heard with an uncompromising stand for one’s own way of doing things. We are seeing more and more persons who will not abide any other way than their way. In community we need to be flexible and accommodate the views of those who think differently than we do.
Now that I have been a Minister for 27 years I so value the church volunteer or leader who can find compromise so many with different opinions can all feel connected to the effort at hand. Compromise is NOT a dirty word. Yes when the matter at hand is one of moral choice, I do understand those who will not waver from their position. But more often than not it is not a moral issue but rather a way of carrying out an activity that causes persons to say, “My way or the doorway” presuming that “their way” is so superior that any other way must be resisted.
If we are a diverse community with many gift we need to find ways to talk to each other, work with each other, and assure all of those involved that their offering will be heard and made part of the whole.