A View to Your Welfare

From Commentary on First Corinthians 12.7-11 (ca. 380-395)

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit with all.” And what, someone might ask a “working,” a “gift,” and a “ministration”? They are mere differences of names, since the things are the same… Paul comforts his reader also in another kind of way, by the consideration that the measure given is profitable to him, even though it be not so large… saying, but to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit with all. This is in case one might say “Yet I have received less [i.e. one is not working miracles].” He says that it was profitable… For though there be a difference of gifts, yet the evidence is one: since whether you have much or little, you are equally manifest… Do not grieve as if God has despised you. God has not done this to dishonor you or declare you inferior to another, but to spare you and with a view to your welfare. To receive more than one has ability to bear is unprofitable, injurious, and a cause of dejection.

St. John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was Archbishop of Constantinople, and one of the greatest preachers of his era. He is traditionally counted among the Four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church.  The Homilies on I Corinthians date from his ministry in his native Antioch, and were preached in the 380s and 390s. His feast day is September 13. The text is slightly adapted for modern readers.


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