Earlier this year, a friend on my job expressed concern for me because I have not been given the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. He has been taught that all Christians need to be able to speak in tongues. So, naturally, he was concerned when he discovered that I have not been gifted with such abilities from the Holy Spirit. I appreciated his concern and his willingness to try to help me with something he believed to be essential to my walk with Christ. I often act in a similar way with believers who have not been baptized, do not worship with a local church, or do not pray or read the Bible on a regular basis. His concern was a sign that he cared about me and my relationship with Jesus.
In an effort to help me, my friend loaned me a book about the need for all Christians to speak in tongues. After reading it, I had to admit to my friend that I had not been persuaded. I pointed to the apostle Paul's inspired words: "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" (1 Corinthians 12:29-30). In the context, the apostle was asking rhetorical questions. The implied answer in each case was "No." He was making the point that each Christian is gifted in different ways. No one is self-sufficient in the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit has gifted each member of the church with different gifts so that we need each other and can help each other. God's church has been designed to be an interdependent group of people. We are not expected to have the same gifts. We are expected to use our gifts to strengthen each other in faith and love, because each of us has deficiencies.
Just as I did not buy into his argument, my friend did not fully accept mine. However, we remain good friends. He is a good man who wants to serve Christ with all of his heart. Perhaps some day we will see eye-to-eye on this issue, but until then we will continue to respect each other and remain good friends.