6 And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that grace is seen in proportion to what he prophesies in faith. 7 if serving people’s needs, in how he serves; the teacher, in how he teaches; 8 the preacher, in how he preaches; the giver, in his generosity; the leader, in his commitment; the mercy-giver, in his cheerfulness. 9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who are persecuting you, bless and do not curse. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, cry with those who cry. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil; consider what is good before all people. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people. 19 Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Rather, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing this you will be heaping burning coals on his head. 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
the mechanics of body ministry
Yesterday I dropped a bomb, so I probably should spend some time cleaning up the debris. I confessed that evangelical Christians are a long way from living up to Paul’s words here because we spend too much time and effort training leaders and too little time and effort encouraging ministry within the body as a whole. As someone who has given decades of his life to leader development, I stand convicted.
So, how does a person encourage all those parts of the body of Christ to work together to reveal and do what God wants done? Paul gives some practical examples here. His particular advice matches the seven spiritual gift labels he had just given:
- prophets: say what you have to say in faith, but don’t play-act. Really love good and really hate evil.
- deacons: serve people’s needs. Show mutual reciprocal love for others.
- teachers: Don’t get lazy. Enthusiastically serve the Lord.
- preachers: Be happy about what is going to happen, don’t wait until it happens. Be consistent even during tough times. Keep praying.
- givers: Look for needs to fill. Be sure to give your time and friendship as well as your money.
- leaders: Be committed to the whole body. Be a blessing even to those who do not bless you back.
- mercy-givers: Be cheerful. Don’t allow the suffering you see to steal your inner joy. Be happy with the happy, cry with the hurting and grieving.
For all these who minister within the body, Paul encouraged a life of peace and love toward all. Evil would try to overcome, but they are to overcome that evil with good.
LORD, renew our minds, transforming us into a body who ministers to all, and overcomes evil with good.