Conclusion and Transition (12:29-31)
Now Paul summarizes and bridges to his next topic. He has taught that a body has different parts, that everyone doesn't have the same role. So he asks a series of rhetorical questions, the answer to each being, "No."
"29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" (12:28-30)
Here Paul suggests that not everyone will be gifted the same way. Does that mean that God can't use you to heal, if you don't have that gift? No. God can use every Christian that way occasionally, just as you can lead a person to Christ, even if you're not a gifted evangelist. But, for the most part, we need a variety of gifts to make up a healthy body.
Now Paul makes a transition to chapter 13, the "Love Chapter."
"But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way." (12:31)
What are the "greater gifts" we should desire? Not gifts that we can wear as badges of spirituality. As we'll see in 14:4-5 the greater gifts are those that are most effective in building up the people in the congregation. For example, prophecy is more important for congregational edification than speaking in tongues.
But now he is ready to show them the "most excellent" path or way -- the way of love -- which we'll study in chapter 13.
Father, thank you for blessing your church with a great variety of gifts -- and gifted people who are all different. Give us discernment that we can see what you've given us as individuals and use these gifts. And that we can see what you've given our brothers and sisters, so we can encourage them to use their gifts. Bring our churches into balance and health, so that we might be your church where the whole body ministers, not just a pastor or leader. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.