Brothers and sisters: 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.
I love choosing the right gift. I’m a gifted giver, if I do say so myself. Mostly because I like to shop. Oh alright, I love to shop. Because of this, many years ago I had considered becoming a personal shopper. I enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift, i.e., going to different stores, sourcing different items, making comparisons, trying to find that right fit — sometimes literally but oftentimes, figuratively. Why not turn that into a side hustle, I had thought. After all, do what you love, right?
But that’s where my entrepreneurial imaginings came to an end. For me, hunting for the right gift for someone isn’t simply about finding the right size, the perfect colour, the most on-trend item, or the best price. It’s about recalling what I know about the person, and more importantly acknowledging the relationship and love that I have for that person. Giving them something I hope they will enjoy and use is one way I express the impact that person has had on my life and the impact I hope I have on their life. Without the sense of relationship and love, gift giving becomes simply an exchange of items rather than truly a gift.
While I strive to give perfect, or at the very least, really good gifts, there already is THE Gifted Giver: God. Through His Spirit we are each given gifts that are unique to who He created us to be. The Spirit discerned long and hard about what gifts to give. My efforts to select just the right gift for a loved one pales in comparison to the efforts our Triune God makes in His selections for us. Yet these gifts are not just for us. What strikes me in Saint Paul’s words to the community in Corinth is the deliberateness of the Spirit. Each person was given a gift to fulfill a particular role in bettering their community. And the community needed each one of those gifts. The same is true today.
And just like any good gifter, God wants His gifts to have an impact on us; to transform us. God has given us perfect gifts not to make us perfect individuals but as a sign of His perfect love for us. And rather than a gift that is left to sit pretty on a shelf, God’s gifts help us to bring about His glory and goodness in a world so in need of good gifts. We are called to share our gifts with one another to transform our families, our communities, and our world. And what happens when we don’t? He doesn’t take the gifts back. He knows we are not perfect. God does the work of perfecting us — daily, continuously, lovingly. He continues to seek a relationship with us. He continues to give. And He continues to be the same God who activates all of the gifts in everyone. And that is truly a gift.