The Esteem of Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit of God who deals so fully both with spiritual ministry and its ministers reveals the proper attitude of the assembly toward these, the gifts from the Risen Head of the Church.
Since, generally speaking, the service of the bishops (elders) is the care of the saints in spiritual matters (1 Tim. 3:2; 1 Pet. 5:2), it is readily assumed that the church at Corinth was divided not over gifts which visited them temporarily but over gifts within their own permanent numbers.
Churches can be saved from such grief only in the measure that each believer learns the proper attitude to all gifted men.
How wonderfully rich the church at Corinth was! The source of all her wealth is seen in Paul’s statement, “All are your’s; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:22-23). Through her relationship to Christ, Corinth shared His riches, in Him she possessed all things; she came behind in no gift (1 Cor. 1:8).
While the saints of God are to rejoice in the capable men the Lord endows, they are not to do so if these men were the source of their spiritual wealth. All must remember that the vessels in which the gifts appear are only human. While elders are worthy of double honour, it is the honour due to those who acknowledge that they are only instruments used by the Lord.
At Corinth the saints had misjudged some leaders while they had eulogized others and made them heads of parties. In all this they were puffed up. What a contrast there was between the child (Corinth) and the spiritual father (Paul)! Speaking of himself and the other apostles, he says, “I think God has set forth us the apostle last.” The treasure had been placed in the earthen vessel that the excellency of the power might be of God.
There are two things in which we should train ourselves — to be slow in taking offense and to be slower in giving it.