Monday, September 24, 2012

The Body and Gifts - V

The Bible says each person in God's family is given a gift "for the common good."  As the New Testament was originally written in Greek "for the common good" is how newer English versions interpret "Προς το συμϕερον".

At first, "common good" sounds like mutual giving and serving within God's family. That seems to be a good thing. Love, service and grace poured into each others' lives. The family grows in heart, character, mutual interdependence and practical unity. All good things.

We still have the problem I wrote about in my last post. If everyone should be expressing this gift (and it seems Scripture says they should), how do we find a niche for everyone to fill?

Of course, maybe we are misunderstanding "for the common good?" I have found references for translating the phrase as "toward that which is profitable."

Maybe the gifts are for more  than pouring into the family of God? (They are certainly for that.) Maybe the gifts are for kingdom building?

The niche question remains, but the scope grows bigger. We are no longer looking for just improving God's family. We are improving God's family and demonstrating God's love and character in the community and culture. We are seeking whatever is profitable. Is there a problem which brings misery to people and dishonor to God -- hunger, lack of education, human trafficking -- does the application of grace through diverse gifts bring hope, and relief to people, and honor to God.

If we open the doors for God's gifts to be applied, filling a niche may become asking different sorts of questions. And there may be more niches than can be filled.

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