Formations 09.11.2022: Thank You

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Some people are good at taking a compliment. They are gracious and genuinely appreciative without a hint of arrogance. They smile and say a simple “thank you” and, however briefly, they forge a connection with the compliment-giver.

Graciously accepting a compliment is something I usually struggle with. Maybe it’s just that I’m an introvert by nature. Receiving a compliment might feel a little too much like being in the spotlight, and we certainly can’t let that happen!

Or maybe it’s imposter syndrome. That’s the fancy term for the feeling you get when you doubt your abilities and feel like you’re a fraud. People with imposter syndrome have difficulty accepting their own accomplishments and question whether they deserve them at all. If that’s you, then a compliment can feel like an accusation: They only applaud you because they don’t know the truth.

First Corinthians 12 has helped me to have a better relationship with compliments. One phrase in particular challenges my discomfort and forces me to reevaluate my hesitancy: “for the common good” (v. 7).

Those four words put everything in a new perspective. There are some things that I can do, but I don’t have to do them to win the applause of others. I can do them for the good of everyone. And when I do them, of course people are going to say thank you.

The church is meant to be a diverse body made of many members. When we take that truth to heart, at least two things result.

First, I become more willing to accept a compliment. Being part of a body means there are things that I can do that others can’t. To be honest, I used to assume that anybody could do the things I can do. I struggled to understand that some people simply will not, cannot, speak in front of a crowd, or translate biblical languages, or edit a church bulletin. It isn’t grandstanding or showing off, it’s just being a good steward of the gifts that God has given me.

But there is another result, at least as important as the first. I become more willing to give compliments. Why? Because just as there are some things that I can do that others can’t, there are far more things that I can’t do but others can. And these things are equally vital to the life of the church and to God’s mission in the world, if not more. So, of course, I’m going to express my gratitude to the people who make this world a better place in ways that I never could.

We must never think too much of our abilities, but we must never think too little of them, either.

Once we learn that, we begin to see how we all need each other in the body of Christ.


• Does your church or tradition seem to praise some gifts more than others? Why do you think this is so?
• What is something that you can do for God’s glory that few others can?
• What is something that others can do for God’s glory? How can you express thanks to these people for their gifts?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.


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