And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
Thoughts for Today:When Paul uses the words "first," "second," and "third" it implies he was establishing an order of authority within the church. For example, apostles have a greater authority than prophets or teachers. Before we go too far with this line of thought, it is important to remember -- although Paul has been speaking about how there are different parts of the body, there are no insignificant members. All have a specific role to play and the body does not function properly with any parts missing or inoperable.
Therefore, the implication of the authority Paul describes is not a "worldly" type of control. In the body of Christ, those in leadership must not misuse their God-given responsibility, but rather lead by example. (1 Peter 5:2-3: "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.")
It is scriptural to have a church governance system which includes these positions and ministry gifts. However, the challenge for us is to support people who are responding to the call of the Lord upon their lives, and not to the politics of humanity.
Questions to Ponder:Are you in a leadership position? Do you desire to lead? Is it a result of a desire to serve (Biblical), or to be served (worldly)? What is your example? Is it one of humility, faithfulness, patience, kindness, generosity and wisdom? What gifts of the Spirit do you display? How are they expressed in service to others?