“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression 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 mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” – 1 Cor 12: 4-11
The people of Corinth caused a lot of trouble for St. Paul. While baptised in the Holy Spirit, they had begun to place a hierarchy on the gifts they had received – those whom they had perceived to have received “fewer” from God, they ostracised. They were also rich, proud, and arrogant, and cast the poor aside like stones to be kicked away from the roadside. However, this article is not about a moral exegesis on the lives of the people of Corinth, but a salient reminder to ask ourselves whether we are like or have become the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 is also a gentle reminder to us that we are made for more and greater in our lives; That we have been anointed and sealed in the Holy Spirit; That each of us has been gifted with a unique Baptismal Call that the Lord GOD has placed in our hearts.
The problem is this: Over the years, we have forgotten our Baptismal Call, or have tried to suppress it, or have buried it somewhere within us. We have not lived this call and that
is the reason why many of us still amble through life, searching for meaning in life. Many of us are searching for God, when ironically, God is already there, in us and with us. Over the years, our Baptismal Call has also been diluted with what the world tells us. It has been tainted with lies and deceit. It has been corrupted by doubt and woundedness. At the end of the day, we begin to tell ourselves that we are not worthy. It does not help that we barely spend time with the LORD, nor read His Word to discern what His Will is for us. Are we so almighty that we can over-ride God’s Plan and Will for us? We only know our past, and we do not know what the future holds. Consider also how GOD called the imperfect people: Moses was a stutterer and a murderer, Jeremiah was a youth of a tender age.
What is our Baptismal Call?
First, it is to “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” (Luke 10: 27) and second, to “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness.” (Matthew: 6:33)
Next, it is to know deeply that we are beloved by GOD. As Psalm 100: 3 says, “Know that the Lord, is GOD. It is He who made us, we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” and again in Jeremiah 31:3, “The Lord approached from afar. I have loved you with an everlasting love, and therefore have continued my faithfulness to you.”
What then do we do? The answer is found in Micah 6:8, “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your GOD.”
Peace and GOD’s tender mercy be with you.
by Brian Bartholomew Tan