In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, the apostle Paul writes,
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (NIV)
This passage demonstrates Paul’s awareness and understanding of the different dimensions of the Triune God, as well as the role that each entity within the Godhead plays. In our last blog, we examined these different dimensions: God the Creator/Creation is depicted by the color green, Jesus and His sacrifice on Calvary is depicted by the color red, and the Holy Spirit/Pentecost is shown by the color blue. (For more on the Triune God, check out our last blog.)
First Corinthians 12:4-6 introduces us to this “Trinitarian” view of roles and their application to ministry. Christian A. Schwarz, founder of Natural Church Development, explains:
Spiritual gifts are related to the Holy Spirit (blue area). Service is related to the Lord, a term that in New Testament usage usually refers to Jesus (red area). The third term is a little more difficult to grasp: the working (we could also translate “effects”) is related to God (put into the terminology we have used so far, this would be God the Creator and thus belong to the green area). (The 3 Colors of Ministry, p. 15)
Just as we saw in our last blog how each part of the Godhead contributes to a complete understanding of God, each member in the Godhead has a different role and operates in a different dimension. Only when all three roles come together do they paint a holistic view of God.
This “division of labor,” if you will, looks something like this:
- There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. – This area represents power and is shown in blue on our diagram.
- There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord(that is, Jesus). – This area is demonstrated by commitment and is shown in red on our diagram.
- There are different kinds of working, but the same God. – This area represents wisdom and is shown in green.
While each of these dimensions is of vital importance in how we experience and represent the Triune God, the dimensions cannot stand alone.
Power + commitment + wisdom = the key to a fruitful life
Just as one part of the Triune God cannot work independently of the others, one dimension cannot be used without the others. For example, power without commitment is useless, but commitment without power is fruitless.
Are you already strong in spiritual power and wisdom, but weak in commitment? Are you strong in commitment and wisdom, but lacking spiritual power? Or are you perhaps among the dedicated Christians who are strong in commitment and spiritual power, but need to concentrate on wisdom? How can you determine which in which area(s) you are strong and which area(s) you need to grow?
Our next three blogs will look at each color individually, examining the elements of each color: spiritual power, commitment, and wisdom.