Introduction and review
When Paul writes what he did up in 1 Corinthians 12, his concern was to show how the Triune God has so designed the church to be a reflection of Himself as a redeemed community unified in Jesus Christ that expresses such devotion in diverse ways. Spiritual gifts are the primary focus of the texts and are supernaturally given graces given out by the Holy Spirit at salvation. When we speak of personality temperaments, these are natural inborn traits that everyone has and which tend to fall into four general categories of description (choleric, sanguine, melancholy and phlegmatic). The goal today is to further our understanding on this subject and to see what happened to our four friends who were stopped at the stop light.
Carl, Sam, Molly and Fred proceed forward
Fred Phlegmatic and Molly Melancholy were both the type of people who preferred others to go first, since they by this point had all kinds of things going through their minds. Sam Sanguine and Carl Choleric were revving their engines. Sam was excited to get to where he was heading. He just hoped that despite forgetting the itinerary, he would be able to influence others to help her along the way. Carl Choleric began honking his horn and it was time to get down the road. Carl then realized that he recognized the other three drivers, and that they all were going to the same destination. So to save face he decided to direct the other three to go first. Sam Sanguine jumped at the opportunity and went first. When Carl tried to wave on Molly Melancholy and Fred Phelgmatic, each of them just stared at each other, hoping the other could move. They pointed to Carl to go ahead and so with a quick thumbs up Carl gunned it and sped off. Molly Melancholy decided that it might be best for Fred Phlegmatic to go, since it is etiquette to let the person to your right go first. Once Fred left, Molly then proceeded but first needed to stop and a cup of coffee, since the destination to where she was heading did not serve good coffee.
Years ago I recall listening to a message series on the spiritual gifts. The pastor commented that the Holy Spirit's distribution of the gifts take into account the personality of the person. This insight has definite scriptural support. Within 1 Corinthians 12 for example, we read of how much of each person's individuality and uniqueness is factored into the Spirit's Sovereign decision in determining which people will receive what gifts. For example, 1 Corinthians 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." Another text, 1 Corinthians 12:27 "Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it."
The types of people that occupy our churches and the gifts God has distributed to each person is so vital to understand. When you consider the different church to which Paul wrote, they all were - well - different? Why? Each one had different mixes of personality temperaments and giftings. These mixtures are what I term "the church's spiritual finger print". Just as our finger prints are God-given, each church is different due to grasping how God has and is molding each one to achieve the Great Commission and Great Commandment.