Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NLT)
11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
When Tina and I were in Bible College we had a really dear friend who after college took a position working at a Christian boarding school on an Apache reservation in Arizona. While this friends was not Pentecostal, he certainly was Pentecostal friendly and open to moving and gifts of the Spirit. In fact, he frequently attended a Pentecostal Apache church (an interesting story in and of itself) at one of the villages on the reservation. He had graduated a year ahead of us and so the following Spring Tina and I did a weeklong missions trip with him at the school. Let’s just say he and I had some really interesting conversations that week. One of the conversations we had concerned the gifts of the Spirit, and the gift of tongues in particular. Like I said he was very open to the gifts of the Spirit, however, he kind of had it backwards as far as receiving the gifts was involved. One of the things he said to me was that he was interested in receiving the gift of tongues…as long as the tongue he received was Apache. Now let me say I appreciate his motive in wanting gifts so he could more effectively minister to the Apache, but we don’t get to decide what gifts we get. In essence he was saying I am open to the gift of tongues as long as it is on my terms. Paul tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who distributes the gifts, and “He alone decides which gift each person receives.” My friend Dr. Stanley Horton puts it this way, “Paul’s concern is that every believer have a part in the ministry of the Spirit, as the chapter goes on to show. They are not given as a deposit in the body of believers. They are given to individuals. Yet they are not for the individual’s benefit but for the body’s benefit, to build it up spiritually and in numbers. They are sovereignly given by the Holy Spirit as He wills (pleases, or determines), not as any believer wills or desires; He alone knows what is truly needed and He uses whomever He wishes” (Horton, I & II Corinthians: A Logion Press Commentary, 117). So what is our responsibility here? Just stay open and willing to be used by the Holy Spirit in whatever way He chooses.