God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2 - 1 Corinthians 12-14: Sharing Gifts in Love and in Orderly Ways

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 12-14

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Spiritual gifts mean nothing without love.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

How God works is often misunderstood. God wants us to use our intelligence and understanding. God gives different gifts from the same Spirit. Everyone plays different but important roles in setting all things right, like a body.
The best way is love. Love never dies. Spiritual gifts will end but love will never end. Love is the best.
Praise God in a language others understand. Pray in your own language when someone can interpret so everyone can join in. Better five words that everyone understands than 10,000 gibberish sounds. God doesn't sow confusion, He sows harmony. Be courteous and considerate.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God gives different gifts to different people.

God made each person unique. They have the opportunity to set things right in their unique way. We compliment each others' gifts which covers each weak part, if we are willing to be humble and work with them.

No gift is more important than another.

Paul wants to make sure they realize an apostle is no better than an encourager. A teacher is not better than someone who can interpret languages. The body imagery used helps us understand those who work behind the scenes are often more essential than ones everyone can see, just like the stomach is more essential than an arm. No one can tell another to submit to them because their gift is inferior.

Any gift without love is useless.

No matter what a person does in God's Name, no matter how amazing it may look, and no matter what great truths a person may show the world, it is naught if they do not have love. The description of love challenges us to make sure what we are doing for God has its full force.

The gift of languages is meant to help others understand the Message.

There is a lot of debate over what the gift of languages is. Some believe it is the ability to learn spoken languages quickly. Others think it is the ability to speak unintelligible tongues which only you and God understand. Either way, what is important is that God does not give gifts for sideshow entertainment. God wants the person who can speak a different language to stay off on the side until another can translate for them. The most important part of the gathering is strengthening each other. We cannot do that if we speak languages the people around us can't understand. Outsiders will get confused and think the group is strange. That is why Paul states that five words everyone understands are better than 10,000 that no one understands. The message is the goal, not the impressive language.

Corporate meetings should be in order—but everyone should participate.

One of the problems I believe we have is the professionalization of life to the point we pick and choose who should add to the group meeting based on training and position. The suggestion that everyone should join in runs a shudder up the spine of every worship leader. I think we struggle with this suggestion because we have become so used to large gatherings that if everyone added something we would never finish. It may be that our gatherings have become too large and polished that we cannot follow this. We may want to scale down and have more small groups where everyone participates than large gatherings where one person feeds an audience who has no skin in the game.

Faith, hope, and love sustain us toward God's Kingdom. The greatest is love.

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