Day 16

Unity and Diversity in the Body

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan

1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Romans 12:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

BY Andrea Lucado

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Romans 12:4-5, 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Music and theater were a big part of my upbringing. My sisters and I were not the most athletic kids, so choir, voice lessons, and musicals were our sport. I was never really content with just being a member of the choir, or a background part in a musical. I always wanted the solo or the lead.

Perhaps there was a church member or two in Corinth who felt the same way. Maybe they were trying to steal the show, or maybe they were trying to prove their gifts were better than someone else’s. Paul enters and tells them that as believers, we operate as one unit, not solo performers. We are all members of one body, and “the body is not one part but many” (1 Corinthians 12:14).

Even though I said goodbye to my music and theater days long ago, I still struggle with this truth. I still want to stand out. I still want the “best” gifts. I still crave that recognition. (My family didn’t nickname me “Drama Mama” for nothing.) But if we look at what I Corinthians 12 really says about our gifts, we see that it has little to do with our individual talents, and much more to do with the way they unify us as believers.

The variation of gifts in Christian community highlights our need for one another. Where I am weak, another member of the body is strong. Where someone else is weak, I am strong. Individually, we can only go so far with our own gifts. Together, we are a full cast, the complete body of Christ. This makes us able to serve our community, one another, and in turn, bring glory to God. Our gifts serve a greater purpose: unification.

As Paul explained, “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person” (vv. 4-6). The emphasis here is on what’s the same about us, not what’s different. We all have the same Spirit. We all have the same Lord. We all have the same Father.

The Church is at its best when we operate as one unit, not as talented individuals trying to outshine each other. When we operate as a unit, we reflect Christ,  “[f]or as the body is one and has many parts… so also is Christ” (v.12).

In spite of my desire for the spotlight, I am learning that the Christian life is not always a loud one. What we do in love and service to our Lord may not always have an audience. So much of this journey is spent using our gifts in quiet ways that may not bring us individual attention, but will bring balance and unity to the body—this is how our gifts were intended to serve.

May we stop running after the spotlight and find contentment working backstage. May we seek unity above our own glory, and may we be grateful for diversity in the body and all the gifts of the Spirit bestowed on us by the Father.


Post Comments (49)

49 thoughts on "Unity and Diversity in the Body"

  1. Laura Zimmerman says:

    YES. Just yes.

  2. Candace Steele says:

    After reading this passage, I wonder at what point we challenge ourselves in service of the church and at what point we acknowledge our gifted area and serve in that way.

    Recently I was nominated as a Deacon for a three year term. Being a Deacon is one of the most challenging things I have done, as many of the responsibilities are outside of my “comfort zone” or area where I feel gifted. It is so hard that I want to quit. I see other Deacons who serve so well and have such a heart for the ministry. It has been a humbling experience to see that this is not something I am good at or feel confident in.

    My husband and I teach Sunday school for elementary children – and this is where I shine! Everything about it I love!

    Do I continue with the challenge of being a Deacon or out all my efforts towards teaching?!

    1. Lynnae says:

      God is so good and has chosen you to be a deacon, to be a leader for your church:) Don’t let your ensecurities descurage you! You are a child of God, a perfect father who wants you to let his light shine! He will never leave or forsake you and he will lead you during your time as a deacon. You were chosen for such a time as this. God Bless and be encouraged that you are a light right where your Heavenly Father wants you to be.

    2. Kailee Tidball says:

      I am struggling with a big decision as well and a friend told me the other day that sometimes the Lord won’t give you a direction. I don’t think that’s true. I think if you have faith that He will show your His will, cover it in prayer and stand patient for an answer, He will direct your heart to His will. This is my prayer in my situation anyway. Praying for guidance for you as well!

    3. Karen says:

      I served a 3 year term as deacon a few years ago and was overwhelmed by the time commitment number of meetings! Although I do not think I will accept the nomination again any time soon, it was a time of spiritual growth as I relied on the Lord to see me through. Stay in daily prayer about it and ask that the Lord make your direction clear.

    4. L Johnson says:

      I was involved in a ministry a couple if years ago that just became so frustrating. I encountered obstacles at every turn and cried a lot. I remember driving down the road one day crying out to God, asking him why it had become so difficult and why I had no peace. In my heart of hearts I heard God answer that he had never called me to that ministry. I realized that I had jumped out in front of him and taken that on for myself. It occurred to me that I had signed up for prideful reasons so that others would think highly of me. If God calls you, you must serve. If God doesn’t call you, you best not.

  3. Carol Heier says:

    The Christian life is not always a loud one. I like that phrase for many reasons.

  4. Monica Davis says:

    Grateful for diversity in gifts? Irritated career at “pew warmers” who complain.

  5. Terri says:

    I am surprised when the writer does not use the SRT version of the Bible. Vs. 6 says ” the same God produces each gift”. We don’t choose the gifts God gives us anymore than we choose our skin color. The point of this is not to be wanting others gifts alone. It also is making the point to use the gifts you were given. “Those parts of the body that are weaker are indispensable ” (vs 22). Sometimes we ignore or don’t even want to know what our gifts are. We are not open to being used of the Spirit. There have been times when I would believe I had something to say to a person. Was not “big” like “go to Africa and be a missionary “. At the same time it was a “word” for that person. I had to make a choice of feeling afraid of all the “what ifs ” and doing what I felt God was telling me. This is about being open to doing what God has given you to do. ” Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. ” 1 Thes. 5:19-21. Take in the complete Word.

    1. Brittany says:

      love this about God choosing our gifts for us. I didn’t make that connection until I read this–Thank you for sharing.

  6. Jennifer Martin says:


  7. Chris Swan says:

    Really wish all the comments would show up here!!!

    1. Kate Mills says:

      Me too!!!

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Chris, we are aware of this particular error and it should be corrected with a future update. In the meantime, you can read all of the comments on our website. We appreciate your patience! -Margot, The SRT Team

  8. JD says:

    Such a timely devotion for me! My sister is hosting a group of orphaned siblings for the summer (and trying to adopt them permanently). I have been feeling a little down, wishing I could do something similar – or at least do more to help her. My circumstances are different, and though I have prayed and asked, it’s not possible for me to adopt right now. God used this devotional to remind me today that my role is different from hers, but no less important. I can continue to pray and gather supplies for her, and that has value, too! (And would you please pray with me for these precious kids?)

    1. Elle says:

      Praying for you all. What your sister is doing is wonderful, and I am sure that your contribution is more than appreciated and valued! God bless you!

      1. Melisha says:

        As a Foster Parent who is trying to adopt the support of family members and just you bring a great Aunt is a tremendous help. I know God will show you purpose as you seek it.

    2. Katelyn says:

      I’m praying!

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