1 Corinthians 12:31
And now I will show you the most excellent way…
THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY
Consider this question: what is the Church most known for? Breaking this down a little further, the Church is comprised of individual followers of Jesus Christ, like you and me (if you follow Jesus). So, what are we most known for?
Chances are, many things crossed your mind in reflecting upon what the church is known for. I find that the Church is know for what it is against in many people’s minds. They are against them, and against that, and unfortunately, being know for love was most likely not at the top of your list. Being known for what we are for. We are for people experiencing the grace and love of Jesus. As we shall see together in the next days, Scripture makes it clear that love, more than any other thing, should be the identity marker of the Church,and for you and me as Jesus followers. It seems to me in our current cultural climate what is needed is a demonstration of God's love. To quote from the old 60’s song:
What the world needs now is love sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone
This notion is most famously displayed in the apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, found in 1 Corinthians 13. Also, known as the love chapter, it will be our guide for the days ahead. But before diving into that chapter, it’s helpful to understand what Paul was addressing with this particular church in the previous chapter.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul was tackling some issues in the Corinthian church which was creating disunity in the church community. Throughout the chapter, he speaks of spiritual gifts and the importance of understanding that the church is the body of Christ. Each person is a different part of that body and has unique contributions regarding how the body functions. Paul specifically addresses that there are no insignificant or unimportant parts, and he highlights the diversity that exists in the church.
His last statement before moving into the “love chapter” is our reading today:
“and now I will show you the most excellent way.”
Paul is, in his writing is moving from addressing the gifts in the church, and the ways the church (meaning the people in the worshipping Community) are living out their faith, to suggest to them “the most excellent way” to BE the church, the Body of Christ.
To begin our journey of learning about the call to demonstrate God’s love as his Community or “body”, I want to invite you to ponder the unique gifts you’ve been given.
Where do your passions lie?
What makes you feel alive?
I believe that knowing and understanding our unique gifts will give us insight on how to best display love as a member of the body of Christ.
God, I want to bloom where I you have planted me. Help me see the ways you have uniquely gifted me to serve you and your Kingdom. I pray that, starting today, I would see the opportunities if front of me to use my gifts and abilities to bring glory to your name. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen
Take a moment to read 1 Corinthians 12, (inserted below) and as you do, note the unique gifts, serving or working (vs. 5-6) that are part of your make up. Recognize that the gifts mentioned are just a few of the many possible gifts. Think about the things that you do well. (encourage, help, lead, organize, network, build, restore, etc. (I have included Romans 12 lists below also). Write down the things you are good at and we will make use of these in the days ahead.
1 Corinthians 12
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.