In I Corinthians 12, Paul writes about different ways that God works among His people by the actions of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, great faith, healing, prophesy, discernment, miracles, speaking in unknown languages and interpreting those languages. It is possible to get entangled in arguing about these “gifts of the Spirit” because they are so unusual and extraordinary, but instead Paul focuses on how beautifully these gifts work together in a healthy congregation, by analogy to the functioning of our bodies. I have also heard that sometimes these gifts are permanent, that is, that someone experiences them all the time, but that sometimes these gifts are temporary, for the present moment.
The “present moment” approach is consistent with the story of Esther, who was made “made queen for just such a time as this,” so that she was able to advocate for the protection of the Jewish people from annihilation during the reign of King Xerxes in Susa. At that one moment, she transitioned from silence to boldness before the king, at the insistence of her uncle, Mordecai. It is also interesting to note that she only made her request of the king after she, her attendants, and her uncle’s family and friends had been fasting and praying to three days. As she was praying and fasting, God provided her with a plan for salvation of her people.
Before signing off today, I want to point out another example of a life greater than I can imagine that is found in Psalm 36:5-10, where David speaks of the Lord’s unfailing love, and the promises that exist for those who follow Him.
5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
9 For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
give justice to those with honest hearts.