I observed an interaction between two 8-year-olds last night. We’ll call them Child A and Child B. As part of an illustration by their youth group leader, each of the children was handed a lego piece. Child A’s piece was much smaller than Child B’s piece. Although the size of the piece had no bearing on this particular illustration, Child A looked over at Child B with disappointment saying, “Aww man. Your lego is much bigger than mine… wanna trade?” Child B looked down at the two pieces to compare. “Nah.”, Child B said.
That’s a kid for you, right? Or is it just like us? It reminded me of one of the scriptures about the gifts of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:29-31 says, “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
I’ve always interpreted this scripture as saying, “We all have different gifts but we should desire the best gifts.” But when I read it today, it struck me as saying, “You covet (want what someone else has) the best gifts, but DON’T. I’ll show you a better way.” Then Paul goes on to the famous love chapter to tell us that NONE of the gifts are worth anything if we are not operating in them with love. I was thinking about it wrong all along! “Thou shalt not covet…” is one of the 10 Commandments, afterall. Why would Paul tell us to covet? No. He is warning us against it. He is telling us that whatever gifts God gives us, we should operate them to the fullest and do so in love.
God made us. He knows what gifts are best for us. He knows how we will thrive and do the best work for Him. Psalm 139:1-5 says, “O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.”
Don’t compare your gifts to those of others. Seek the gifts and trust that He will equip you with the ones that are best for you. We are many members, but one body. We can seamlessly operate as such with this in mind.