Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK TWELVE
ORBIT – DAY FIFTY FIVE
Hello and welcome to Orbit – the daily devotional thought from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Hopefully you’ve been enjoying this experiment over the last few weeks – please get in touch and let us know what you think of it. We’re creating a new Orbit every weekday – our hope is that it will help you to establish just a small daily rhythm of time with God each day.
BIBLE READING – 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
I remember one Christmas from my childhood incredibly clearly. I had lobbied my poor parents (and they were financially quite poor, as well as poor for having to put up with me) to buy me four different computer games. They couldn’t really afford it, but I was insistent that I needed all four – and that my life would be utterly incomplete if I couldn’t spend the whole of 1992 playing through such classics as James Pond: a platform game about a spy-hunting fish. Because of their great love for me, they relented – probably went without dinner a few times – and gave me all four. I spent most of Christmas morning tremendously excited… but the feeling soon wore off. James Pond wasn’t very good, one of the others was too hard; a third felt boring after a few plays, and the fourth one didn’t work – and needed to be replaced. I distinctly remember lying on my bed that afternoon, feeling overwhelmed by a realisation of my own greed and the lack of diversity in my interests, and bursting into tears.
It’s ok to desire gifts. I think it’s probably even ok to ask for things for Christmas. But ultimately we need to realise that gifts which just benefit us, aren’t anything like as satisfying as we think they’ll be.
Paul begins his list of spiritual gifts in this passage by explaining that these aren’t the sort of gifts that are given for our benefit. Of course they build our faith and our connection with God – but that’s not the main reason why we receive them. Paul says that each gift is given for the common good – meaning that the Holy Spirit gives them to us so that we can build up our brothers and sisters in the Christian family.
The gifts that Paul lists are extraordinary (and a lot more exciting than James Pond). The ability to hear and understand divine wisdom; the power of physical healing; being able to speak in languages you’ve never learned or perhaps even heard. There’s even a cover-all category called “miraculous powers”. The Holy Spirit hands out amazing gifts to the people of God, and we are meant to gladly receive them, and put them to work for the benefit of others. It’s like a cycle of gift giving, where God gives to us, so that we too can give out.
I guess this then begs the question… Why don’t we see more of this stuff in daily life? If Christians really do have access to the gifts of God; to miraculous powers – why don’t we use them more? Perhaps that is a question for each one of us to reflect on. Let’s be honest, supernatural powers are a bit weird and uncomfortable, especially for the British. They require us to step out of our comfort zones, and to exercise greater levels of faith. Yet the Bible talks about them clearly in black and white terms. If we believe anything else in the Bible, then we have to believe in the supernatural power available to us too.
God longs to live to give us good gifts, but sometimes we struggle to receive them. It’s the opposite of my Christmas story, when I was desperate to get things for myself which ended up to be deeply unsatisfying; we must not be reluctant to receive gifts from God that will bring incredible blessing to our church family and our wider community.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord God, I thank you for the spiritual gifts that you promise. I choose to step out of my comfort zone, and invite you to give me any good gift that you want. I pray that you would enable me to bless other people, through the things you have done for me. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Elsewhere in this letter, Paul talks a couple of times about desiring spiritual gifts. It’s okay to want a particular gift, so why not spend some time today thinking through the gifts that are listed here, and deciding which one you would love to receive. Then, spend a few minutes in quiet, perhaps holding your hands open as a sign to God that you are ready to receive, and invite him to give you that gift by the power of his Holy Spirit.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!