Tuesday, June 30, 2020

1 Corinthians 14

Key verse: 1 Corinthians 14:12
Big idea: The cross is our model for ministry. 

Today's chapter is so often used as a debate in a battle about spiritual gifts that we often miss its very practical implications. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for missing the point of spiritual gifts. In what is really an extension of the theme of chapter 13, the gifts of the Spirit are not designed to be used to self-promotion or pride, but to serve others. Any real gift of God is designed to build up the church and that ought to be reflected in our priorities. 

This is not just true of things like prophecy, speaking in tongues, or supernatural knowledge. But the model for how we serve God is here. The question is not what roles will bring us attention or apparent success, but how we can best build up the body as a whole. We do not exist for ourselves, but for one another. Of course, this should not be surprising to us as Christians. Our Lord and Master had all of the gifts and abilities which could be imagined (and probably many others), yet He did not seek to serve Himself, but to build people up.

How different from the way that people normally act. We see others as tools to build us up and make or discard relationships based on their function. Our whole understanding of gifts is hardwired with selfishness. But God has a better plan. The sacrifice of Jesus shows us how a life should be used: it should be spent. Our whole lives are a ministry, so they ought to be like Christ's.

Discussion idea: What is a gift God has given you which you can use to build up others?
Prayer focus: Praise God for letting us be a part of His work. 

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