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Daily Devotional • March 22

Steven McCain
Gifts Not Our Own
A Reading from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
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.

Our spiritual gifts are not our own. They are, as the name suggests, gifts to us from God for the Church and the world. St. Paul wants to be sure that the church in Corinth understands that these gifts are first and foremost from God when he writes how the Spirit “allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.” 

This is good news to a world burdened by comparison, pride, and jealousy. St. Paul’s words remind us that the Spirit handpicks our gifts. One’s gifts are not better than another’s. We know this, but it is helpful to hear it again. 

Spiritual gifts are non-competitive manifestations of the Spirit for the common good. These gifts enrich our communion with God, strengthen our fellowship with one another, and draw us deeper into the mystery of God. 

As a seminarian, I know how tempting it is to weigh my spiritual gifts against my peers’. Not only does coveting someone else’s spiritual gifts get us nowhere, but it is an expression of distrust toward God. We must remember that our spiritual gifts are handpicked for us, meaning that each person’s gifts are valuable, significant, empowered by the Spirit, and chosen uniquely for you. 

Rather than wishing for someone else’s gifts, what would our lives and our churches look like if we chose to celebrate the spiritual gifts of those around us? Let us remember that our gifts are not our own, nor are they about or for us alone. They are from God for the life of the world. Whose gifts might God be calling you to celebrate today? 

Steven McCain is a seminarian living in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Benjamin and James. 

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas
The Diocese of Ruaha – The Anglican Church of Tanzania
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