It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.1 Corinthians 12:11
He distributes and He decides. Who? The Holy Spirit, that’s who. What? These gifts . . . these gifts we have been talking about – the manifestation gifts.
It is these He distributes [διαιρέω – separate, divide or distribute]. He is the one working this – the same word we discussed in Bible Gem 434 – working. He is the one working this, operating behind the scenes. He separates and divides the gifts and then distributes them. Dividing to every man severally as he will (KJV). What does that mean? Giving to one man this gift, and another that gift. He divides the gifts and decides what each person will get. Did you get that? It is the Holy Spirit who decides what each person gets. He chooses. These gifts are unequal, yet they are wisely divided, because it is the Spirit of God who distributes.
So that means not everyone gets the same gift. Think about that. That means not everyone necessarily speaks in tongues. Which means when we try to force people to speak in tongues as the sign gift of of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that we are actually do the body of Christ a disservice. When we do that we highlight one gift and obscure others. I told you a couple of days ago when we looked at the discernment gift – “this is a foundational gift that every church or body of believers who meet together needs as a pre-requisite.” While it doesn’t appear to have the same appeal as healing, miracles or even tongues it is essential to the spiritual success of the body of Christ . . . there is all sorts out there, masquerading as truth and “Christian”, but it is mixed with the wacky, the error filled and definitely not mainline Christian. We need to be protected from that . . . As you open yourself to the gifts of the spirit, words of wisdom, knowledge, prophecy and tongues with interpretations it has the potential for error to creep in.” More than every before we need the gift of discernment operating in the church today. Yet it is often absent.
When we are the ones who decide which gifts are apportioned to the body is it possible we opt for some (or one) to the exclusion of others. Then we wonder why we have problems. If there are some that are particularly favoured and promoted, it stands to reason then there are others that are neglected and overlooked. Let’s allow the Spirit of God to be the One “to decide and distribute according to His will” just like the Word says. Rather than encourage everyone to speak in tongues, let’s encourage and teach in such a way that highlights all the gifts to be operative because we need them all. A body of believers where some aspects of the manifestation of God are absent because we have placed undue emphasis on some gifts and not others is a body which is incomplete. Think about it
I know some of you will ask “But Ian what about where Paul says “I want you all to speak in tongues”? I Cor 14:5 [ESV] Be patient, we will look at that verse when we deal with that passage.
God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.Elizabeth Barrett Browning
It is the gift giver who gets to decide the gift given.Ian Vail