March 8 I Sunday
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” —1 Corinthians 12:7
Some may hold to the belief that only men are qualified for ministry service, possibly because the apostles were men. Yet, when we examine the day of Pentecost, we learn that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the whole church, regardless of gender distinction. This was to fulfill what the Old Testament prophet Joel said: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy….Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days…” (Acts 2:17-18). Not once but twice, Joel mentions of the Spirit’s pouring on male and female.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he outlines the purpose of spiritual gifts: “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
When we combine the events of Pentecost and Paul’s explanation on spiritual gifts, we find evidence of the Holy Spirit endowing gifts to believers, without gender distinction, to build up the Church. For example, in Paul’s visit to Philip the evangelist’s house in Caesarea, we read that, “[Philip] had four unmarried daughters who prophesied” (Acts 21:9). If Christ determines who receives the gift of prophecy, the fact that Philip’s daughters prophesied shows that Christ endows women with spiritual gifts. Thus, God endows the Church with gifts to build it up and equip the saints.
In the Book of Acts, we read of Apollos, a learned and educated man, who comes into a synagogue and starts to teach the people there. Priscilla and Aquilla listen to him and realize that he has some things right but was off on other things. As a result, “they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26). Note in the verse, “they,” which indicates both husband and wife were explaining to Apollos the way of God more adequately. Prscilla was teaching, exercising a form of authority, as she helped Apollos, with the authority of Christ, to learn the Scriptures.
From the examples of Philip’s daughters and Priscilla, we find that there is no gender discrimination on spiritual gifts. As Christians, whether male or female, are we using the spiritual gifts we receive from Christ for the purpose of building up the body?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for graciously bestowing onto me spiritual gifts. Help me to use these gifts for the purpose of building up Your body. Praise You!