“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” 1 Corinthians 12:7
We’re not nearly as community oriented as we once were. Time was, and it wasn’t that long ago, when everybody knew who everyone in town or their neighborhood was. And it was only a very private person who kept their lives and business secret from their neighbors. It wasn’t so much that people were nosy, though some were, mostly it was that people cared about and relied on the people that lived around them, so they looked out for one another. But we’re not that way anymore.
We’ve become very private when it comes to our personal lives and this is spilling over into work and church and almost everything else. And the result is that we’re more alone and less supported than we ever were before. And this is not the way God wants us to be. Philippians 2 tells us that God’s way is to look out for the interests of others and this is the way of thinking the Holy Spirit is trying to instill in us. To this end he has given to each one of us resources, gifts and abilities so that every one will be profited by them.
Our first instinct, when it comes to these abilities and other resources, is to think how does this give me an advantage. But that’s the way the world thinks. If we’re led by the Spirit in the way we use the various manifestations of grace he blesses us with then our thoughts will be how can I use this to benefit everyone.
The early Christian church is an example to us. Acts 2:44-45 describes the culture of the church community this way, “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Imagine if this was the attitude of the church today.
But the generosity of heart that causes us to lookout for one another and then to care for the needs we see is a character trait that is born of the Spirit. So when we take stock of our lives and realize that we’re not yet who the Spirit is wanting us to be then what is called for is not merely more effort on our part. No what we need is more of Jesus and that means we need a deeper fuller submission to the Holy Spirit.