The Church is the Unit

Here then is the place to emphasise two points which are so clearly put by Paul in 1 Cor. 12:

(a) It is to the Church that the powers of the Spirit are given through the individual, and not to the individual for himself. It is the Church which under its appointed leaders is the unit. The possession of a great gift from the Lord does not entitle, though it may tempt, its owner to go off on his own, or stand out from others as if he were above them, or to expect because he has this gift to take a leading part in the Government of the Church. His gift, once he has received it, belongs to the Church, and the use to be made of it lies at the wisdom of its leaders. The Church is one body, knit together by love to do the Lord's will, and it does not matter through which member the gifts come: it is the whole body which is enriched and empowered.

(b) It is the Lord's will to give the greatest gifts to that part which lacks. Pastors are to encourage those members, who seem to have little of their own to give to the Church's work, whether through shyness, or age, or lack of self-confidence or ability, to look for the greater gifts (1 Cor. 12:22‑25). It is bad for anyone to feel that they are not of much use, and can easily be done without. The Lord therefore desires to combat this by giving to any such a compensating gift, which will make them realise that they are needed and highly valued.

The Church then is to gather together when any particular manifestation of God's power is needed, and to expect the Lord to give it to whom He will. The Lord for His part has told every