Thursday, June 11, 2009

6/12- Calvin and gifts

(Kay in front of oldest Greek temple to Apollos in Corinth. The Greeks believed that talents and gifts came from the gods too).

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

6/12- God gives us gifts

I Cor. 12 4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Calvin: The symmetry of the Church consists, so to speak, of a manifold unity, that is, when the variety of gifts is directed to the same object, as in music there are different sounds, but suited to each other with such an adaptation, as to produce concord. Hence it is befitting that there should be a distinction of gifts as well as of offices, and yet all harmonize in one. Paul, accordingly, in the 12th chapter of Romans, commends this variety, that no one may, by rashly intruding himself into another’s place, confound the distinction which the Lord has established. Hence he orders every one to be contented with his own gifts, and cultivate the particular department that has been assigned to him. (Commentary on I Cor. 12:4)

Calvin uses a beautiful image: One piece of music but many instruments; Different parts playing in harmony. God gives us different abilities, talents, and gifts of the Spirit that are all to work together. We are patchworks on a quilt- each patch playing a part to make the quilt whole. Calvin was one to recognize the diversity within humanity. Some were well educated, some were not- but all were equal before God. Some were rich, some were poor, but in the face of eternity that mattered little. Rather than emphasize the differences, we should use our differences for the common good of glorifying God. We are not independent of our neighbor. Instead we are called to love our neighbor by working together. Whatever gifts we have, wherever God has called us, we should find peace because God has called us there, and equipped us for our task.

Prayer: God, thank you that you do not leave us as orphans. You send your Spirit and you give us gifts to remind us of you, and to equip us in life for the task of honoring you. May our gifts honor you today. Use us in harmony with each other today.

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