“Now I will show you the most excellent way”.
1 COR 12:31 NIV
Recently there has been a quite unexpected development in Christian circles, the charismatic renewal. Many believing Christians have found a new vitality and a newly deepened Christian life with a much closer walk with God. There has been a huge emphasis on the spiritual gifts that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and many have known, in particular, the gift of speaking in tongues. Sadly, this has led to an unintended “league table” of gifts being understood, the more dramatic ones being regarded as somehow superior to the more commonplace ones.
It was to warn his Corinthian Christian community against this very danger that Paul wrote his letter and clearly he wanted to guard against any tendency to spiritual snobbery or envy. He knew that the best gift, better than all the gifts in the list, was love. And where there was love, both in the body and in individual believers, that was the mark of the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit. His message on the subject has been to point out the variety of differing gifts that are shared and spread throughout the body. But he has also stressed that there is a unity despite this diversity because each believer is in Christ and because the gifts are not the person’s own possession – they are endowments of the Holy Spirit, not rewards for greater devotion. In addition, the question arises as to what is the purpose of the gifts? His answer was equally clear that they were not given for personal self-glory or boasting, but for ministry to the whole body.
In what way do your gifts contribute to the overall ministry of your Christian community?
Lord, multiply your gifts in the body of Christ.