“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Corinthians 12:7, KJV)
It is football season right now. I do enjoy watching these games on the television. One thing about football is that it is a team sport. Each person on the team has a position and certain abilities for the position they play. I never played football in organized league. About as close as I go was playing in pick-up games after school in the schoolyard. Yes, we played tackle without helmets, pads, or the like and no one I knew ever got seriously injured. I guess things are different now.
One of the things about football is that each player on the team has to function in their position for the common goal. That is to score goals or prevent the other team from doing so. One thing in our pick-up games after school, we would have to play both offense and defense. We understood the need for teamwork. Those games were less about winning, that everyone was having a good time and being able to excel in what they were doing. Looking back at it, I cannot remember one game that we either won or lost. However, I can still remember some specific plays where we succeeded.
The big takeaway from these games was that we worked together to build these friendships and memories. Everyone worked together and we all went away from each of these games with a few bruises, some talking points, and fond memories. Our teamwork was mutually beneficial.
I read a book once titled, “Church is a Team Sport.” It spoke about how the entire church, every believer, was to work together for a goal. Paul here indicated as such in discussing spiritual gifts. He indicated that the Holy Spirit manifested a spiritual gift in each believer to profit the whole church. There are two aspects of this.
First, all the gifts in the church are to enable the church to fulfill her great mission. That is the Great Commission, which is to make disciples. To the degree that every person uses his or her gift, the church will be successful in the mission assigned.
Yet, there is a second aspect. It has to do with the health of the church body, which is a function of the spiritual health of every individual believer. Many of the spiritual gifts have to do directly with ministering to each other within the church and thus, supporting the whole. It is not to be forgotten that healthy bodies do healthy work. Thus, spiritual health is essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
In this way, the church is edified, that is built up, as each person ministers within the body using his or her spiritual gift. Therefore, it behooves every believer to do two things. The first is to understand his or her gifting and place of service in the context of the church’s mission. Second, every believer must seek to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) in using his or her gift in the church.