During the last half of the nineteenth century, an evangelist by the name of Henry Drummond wrote a sermon called "The Greatest Thing in the World." It was about love. It was based on I Corinthians 13, which is certainly one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. If people know anything about 1 Corinthians, this is probably the chapter that comes to mind. This chapter teaches that love is greater than faith, that love is greater than hope.

There are three applications that I want to make from 1 Corinthians 12. The first is, be content with what you have been given. If you are not content, you are telling God that you know better than he. Therefore, be content with whatever God has given you, because God gave it to you and he knows best.

The illustration of the human body makes some obvious points. The first one is that all of these parts have different functions. The eye sees, but it does not walk. The foot walks, but it does not handle. The hand handles, but it does not think. All parts of the body have different functions, and so do we. That is not a weakness or a failing. It is the way God made it. It is the way God wants it and he wants us to recognize that.

Is there a particular number of spiritual gifts? That question is difficult to answer. Paul gives two lists here in chapter 12. The first one identifies nine gifts (vv. 7-11). Then in 1 Cor. 12:27-30, Paul identifies another set of nine gifts, but here the list is different. Some of the gifts from his first list are repeated in the second, but others are new. There are three other passages in the New Testament that also list gifts in a formal manner. There are five gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:6-8 lists seven; and I Peter 4:11 mentions two. Not one of the lists is identical to the others. This is just a way of saying there are a great variety of gifts.

The first point Paul makes here when talking about gifts is that there is a diversity of gifts in the Church, and that the diversity corresponds to the nature of God, which is the basis of all reality. It is not difficult to illustrate this. All we have to do is look about the world in which we live and the universe in which our world is located. One thing made clear in the study of science is the intricacy found throughout the whole universe.