Hello – I am Amy Christie – My mission is to spark joy in the world through the arts.
Anyone seen the tidying up series with Marie Kondo? I know it has been a popular show – I had never seen it before. I think I avoided it because I felt like it might make me feel bad about my life/my clutter/my mess.
You see these are what the homes look like before Marie helps them out
That doesn’t look that bad to me. I would actually feel like we were in pretty good shape if our space looked like that.
So that show feels frustrating to me – as I watched it, I felt kind of ashamed – it hits too close to home – I feel guilty
I actually prefer to watch hoarders
Ever seen that show?
If not – here is what the homes look like before on Hoarders.
Yep – when I watch this show I feel a lot better about my home – a lot better about myself
I may not be Marie Kondo organized but I’m not that bad
What I noticed about both shows was this:
1. There is more to their mess. – whether big or small than just the mess – it always goes deeper than that – the disarray on the outside is an indicator of disarray on the inside – especially on Hoarders there is always deep pain and brokenness that has led to the hoarding
2. The disarray/mess/clutter affects everyone around them. – affects their relationships – their homes and lives – don’t want anyone in either
3. When the mess is cleared, their lives are much better. – in every way - healing
4. It takes a team to help clean it all up. – it takes a village to clean up the mess – it takes a troop to clear out the clutter – it takes a squad to tidy up
And this is true of us – it takes people in our lives – people who we trust – people who we know see us and know us and love us – people who have our back – people who pick us up and pull us thru and push us forward
It takes a gang of people in our lives to help straighten out our souls – to clean the hoard out of our hearts
To tidy up
Whether we are sparking joy or dumping our anger or clearing out stress
We cannot do it alone
We are not meant to do it alone
And in our culture – that is not the message – the predominate message is in order to be strong you need to be able get thru it on your own – don’t burden others – don’t be needy – soldier thru
But whether your life feels like this
You can’t clean it up by yourself. And you shouldn’t. God didn’t design us like that.
And that is exactly what we’re going to talk about today as we continue in our Tidying Up series –
The only way to truly tidy up our souls, our hearts, our lives is to do it in community.
We’ve talked about sparking joy with justice and dumping anger in the trash and we’re going to talk next week about clearing out stress thru generosity
And I feel like this week could be the overall application to the other 3 weeks – because in order to do any of this – we need to do it together – with each other
The title of today’s message is
“Many hands make light work.” John Heywood (1497-1580)
This quote is attributed to John Heywood – an English writer, poet, playwright
I am sure he did not realize a church in 2021 would be using his quote to talk about cleaning out our hearts but it fits perfectly
Trying to navigate this life on our own would be heavy and taxing and overwhelming but working thru it together – many hands – will lighten the burden – lighten the load
And the bible is full of verses and passages that talk about the necessity for community – the body of Christ - the need for all the gifts working together with each other
And the passage that we’re going to camp in today is 1 Corinthians 12 – so go ahead and turn there – or take a look on the grace app
As you’re turning there – welcome online – a little background on this letter – written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth – a group of people he knew really well – Paul had taken a lot of time to establish a church in Corinth and then after he moved on to other cities he began hearing that there were a lot of problems back with the Corinthian church – so 1 Corinthians is a letter to the church to address the problems they are having – and he divides the letter into 5 parts for the 5 main problematic areas for them – and for each part
He identifies the problem
He responds to solve the problem thru the lens of the gospel
The entire letter is designed to remind the church in Corinth of what it means to live your life around the Gospel of Jesus
Jesus opened a whole new reality
And they needed and we need to see every part of life thru the lens of that Gospel
And where we are – chapter 12 – it’s focused on how the gathering of believers has gotten off track – the weekly worship gatherings were becoming chaotic – with members wanting to one up each other – comparing their spiritual gifts and ministries and claiming theirs was the most important - and it was distracting for the other people in the room – particularly visitors – they were getting in the way of the gospel message – this truly grieved Paul
And thru these chapters Paul wants to remind the church that their role is thru love to use their God given gifts to serve and seek the well-being of others
Let’s look at the passage we’re focusing on today
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice[a]; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.[b] 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,[c] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
Right away Paul is clear about what spiritual gifts are – the are gifts that are given to us by the same Holy Spirit and to serve the same God
The gifts, service and works may be different/diverse but as we see in the first verses
The same Spirit is the source of the gifts.
The gifts serve the same Lord.
Same God that works thru all the gifts in us.
He says Spirit 7 times in the passage – several times “same spirit”
All spiritual gifts are equal because they come from the same spirit – Peggy’s spiritual gifting is just as important as Aaron’s – same spirit
And then reminds them once again at the end
11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
All spiritual gifts come from the Spirit – therefore they will honor and glorify God and serve one another.
Paul then goes on to list some of the spiritual gifts in verses 8 thru 10
1. Wise advice – this is an intimate understanding of God’s word – and using that to speak into an individual life or a specific situation with great understanding and perspective – helping guide others to a life of righteousness, holiness, and worship.
2. Special knowledge – closely related to wisdom – knowledge of the Gospel and scripture and an understanding of how that fits into the world and our lives
3. Great faith – ability to trust God against all circumstances – trust and confidence in God that allows them to live boldly for him - Peter on water in Matthew 14
4. Healing -Those who have this gift are compassionate toward the sick and pray over them regularly. They have great faith and trust that God can and will heal some and are not deterred when He chooses not to. They are motivated knowing that God’s power is revealed thru healing and it will draw people to faith in Jesus. Their ultimate concern is the spiritual well-being of those being healed and their relationship with Jesus.
5. Perform miracles - those with the spiritual gift of miracles often have a heightened sensitivity to the presence and power of God through His Holy Spirit always listening for the promptings – accompanied by deep prayer. They have a special measure of faith and desire for God to reveal Himself and draw many to faith in His Son Jesus Christ. Don’t want attention – constantly acknowledging the power comes from the Spirit. Our prayer team has seen healings and miracles – these gifts are steeped in prayer
6. Prophesy - the ability to receive a divinely inspired message and deliver it to others These messages can take the form of exhortation, correction, disclosure of secret sins, prediction of future events, comfort, inspiration, - speak these into others lives
7. Discernment - being able to distinguish, discern, judge or appraise a person or situation - they can see when something or someone is being influenced by God or that are just not right maybe evil - We need those with this gift to warn in times of danger or keep us from being led astray by false teaching. A friend senses something about someone or a situation in your life
8. Speak unknown languages – goes hand in hand with interpretation – unknown languages should not be spoken in public without the interp – whole history of how languages began that I can’t go into – it’s long – but I will say In heaven an innumerable group from every nation, tribe, people and tongue will join together to praise God with one language. (See Revelation 7:9-12. This is where tongues will cease as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.) The intention of the spiritual gift of tongues is to glorify God now, but also to prepare ourselves as His church to glorify Him forever in heaven.
9. Interpretation - simply means to interpret, explain, or expound some message that is not able to be understood in a natural way. Thus, this spiritual gift is the supernatural ability to understand and explain messages uttered in an unknown language. – I wonder if this goes beyond tongues – into interpretation of what others say that you disagree with – so volatile today – we seem to really be having a hard time hearing each other these days – maybe we all need friends that can interpret for us. Mediation
And this is not an exhaustive list. These are the gifts that Paul is highlighting in these verses – these are the gifts the church in Corinth and the gifts we are to be using – along with the gifts of mercy, shepherding, teaching, giving – among others – but these gifts are to be used to glorify God and to serve each other
The key verse is verse 7
7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
The spirit does not pour out these gifts for us to stick them on a shelf and let them sit there – they are to be used – and not only used but used to
“Help each other.”
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So, if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Use your gifts.
Use your gifts to help each other.
But one caution
These gifts from the spirit – the gifts of prophesy, wisdom, healing, faith – they are dangerous unless – they are used in love – and the end of chapter 12 says:
“And yet I will show you the most excellent way.”
The most excellent way to use these gifts
And leads right into Chapter 13 that talks all about love – verse 1
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
You should only use your spiritual gifts out of love.
They should never be used outside of love.
If they are, they are useless – they are just noise – annoying noise like a clanging cymbal – they are nothing
You cannot help someone clear out their heart if your motivation is not steeped in love for them
The most excellent way to share your gifts is with love.
Use your gifts to help each other and allow others to use their gifts to help you.
It’s a reciprocal process – those around you need your spiritual gifts speaking into their life and you need the gifts of others in your life.
Whether your soul feels like this:
You can’t clear that out without help – without community.
You need individuals with the gifts of wisdom, mercy, prophesy, healing and so on.
You need friends that are using their unique Spirit given spiritual gifts in love to pick you up and move you forward and challenge you and help you see clearly and to move you toward righteousness and holiness and worship.
Different people are going to bring different gifts into your life – and we need them all.
My friend Kristi always talks about going to the wrong people to fulfill needs they can’t – that’s not their gift
You don’t go to target for items you need from Lowes or Kroger
And we all need target and Lowes and Kroger and Costco and many other stores in our lives…
I think the phrase we used earlier should actually be:
Many gifts make light work.
We need each other.
Do you have these gifts represented in your life?
Or maybe you have some but not all?
If not – where can you find them?
Look around – maybe God is placing people in your life that can fill gaps that you need filled
New people with different gifts, fresh perspective
Join a group – fitness, workday, meet ups, GK camp,
Serve - everywhere
Ask – people around you
When my dad passed – I needed all the gifts in my life – in tangible ways
Food – mercy
Cards, flowers, gifts – kindness
Walking me thru the grief with scripture – knowledge
See a counselor – wise advice
I want you to close your eyes for a moment – and think of people who bring these things to your life
Do you have those gifts speaking into your life – helping you clean out the clutter of your soul – helping you dump the debris from your heart – to get rid of the garbage from your life
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
We need each other.
You don’t want to be in real trouble – let’s set each other up for success.
Many gifts make light work.
Let’s rise – out of the depths – and let’s do it together – in love.