SOAP Study - October 30, 2020
1 Corinthians 12:21-30
21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not!
PERSONAL SOAP STUDY
- What verse stood out to you while you were reading?
- What did you discover about God, yourself, and others?
- How should this information impact your life?
- What needs to be different about the way you are currently living?
- Take some time to talk to God about the things you just learned and how you want your life to look different. Give God thanks for revealing these things to you, ask Him for wisdom and courage to move forward so that you can apply these things to your life.
STAFF SOAP STUDY
When I hear Paul’s words here, it makes me think of Coach Carter, one of my favorite sports movies of all time. Samuel L. Jackson who plays Coach Carter, who coach a high school basketball team—the Richmond Oilers. It really is an amazing movie! Coach Carter takes a failing basketball program at a school with failing test scores and transforms them into a winning program with graduating players who now have an opportunity to go to college. For some, they would be the first in their families to go to college. Coach Carter has a lot in common with Paul. They are both fiery and really don’t care about being nice. They care more about what will become of you. Coach Carter gets the team to buy into his way of playing basketball by using a contract that if any player on the team—benchwarmer or starter alike—does not maintain at least a C+ grade point average, then the entire basketball team will forfeit games till that player gets his grades up. The players buy in and forfeit a game, so they all focus on helping each other get better grades. This is why this matters. This is what Paul is trying to get us to see as the Church. Every person matters. No matter how big the personality, no matter how small we think the role is, we are a team. We will win together, or we will lose together. But whatever we do, we will do this together. A team will prevail, while the individual will see a breakdown in results because it is outside of what God intended. Paul lists all of these opportunities to serve in the Church. The ranking is not the focus; the point is that everyone has a gift. Not everyone is going to have the same gift, the same job title, the same level of responsibility, but Paul is saying that everyone matters. Everyone has value. The ministries behind the scenes are vital just as much as the ones on the frontlines. What is done behind the scenes is just as valuable as what is done in front of the world. The point is this team of God’s being together no matter what.
I think Paul’s words here are a valuable reminder that everyone has a gift. I think we as human beings look to our job title to give us status and relevance and a sense of value, but God’s Kingdom is backwards or forward depending on how you look at it. Even the highest office must make himself or herself low. We are not more valuable than each other. For example, you may enjoy that sermon from Bob or Frank, but they will be the first to tell you that there is a whole tech team that you may never notice that makes it all happen. We may celebrate this awesome giving campaign and help our community in a big way financially, but there is a whole Finance team behind the scenes. That group turned out great, but there was an assistant doing good work. There is a saying that there are some things that are small that no one notices, but if it is not done, then everyone notices. We are all playing a big role and making a difference in ministry and service to the world. Your job title and your level of responsibility does not change that. We need to see the value in our good work that God sees in it.
LORD, Your Kingdom is better! The first will be the last and the last will be the first. You have made us all low, so that we cannot boast in anything but You. Lift the spirits of Your Church! Help us to see ourselves the way you see us. Not for our jobs, not for the amount of money we give, not for the amount of praise we receive, not for the value people place on us or don’t. Help us to only see the value You have placed on us. We are Yours! Make that matter to us!