Still A More Excellent Way




Scripture:

1Cor. 12:27   Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Observation:

As Paul talks to the church in Corinth, he tries to help them understand the value of being a part of the church family. There are people with different gifts who make up this church family and they each have different responsibilities. The problem arose when people thought that some gifts were more valuable than others. Paul does present them here in a particular order because the church in Corinth was valuing tongues over everything else. Not everyone would have the same gift and this must have been causing division among the people. 

It’s at this point of division that Paul begins to give a vision of unity. This is the more excellent way which is then laid out in Chapter 13, the chapter of love. None of this conversation makes sense, unless we begin to see gifts and service which come from a heart of love. That is the greater gift and it becomes the glue that binds the community together in holy love. 

Application:

What we receive from Paul here is an encouragement to focus on a deeper walk with Christ. For too much of life we get hung up on our identity, in relation to position. For those who work in the church, we talk about things like being a minister, an associate, a District Superintendent, or even a General Superintendent. What Paul is saying is that none of this should really matter. It takes everyone to make up the family of God known as the church. 

This includes laypersons as well, and teachers, and people with spiritual gifts! Some of the people with the most incredible spiritual gifts I know are not ministers. When I call people together to pray it is a group of committed laywomen whom I know — and I know that they can pray down heaven! 

All of these things, whether skills, or spiritual gifts are wonderful and necessary in the life of the church but they are not the end all. What we have to understand is that none of this works well unless it is well-oiled by the presence of God’s holy love. Without that love we become a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal — making a bunch of useless noise, hoping that we get the most attention. Yes, even in the family of God there can be struggles to find your place, or your niche, and think that you have to out-do the next person. This is not how we are to live, for there is still a more excellent way.

In this journey of life we are called to place our minds on things above. Sometimes that’s not on heaven, but above the things of this world which will keep our eyes off of Jesus. The more excellent way is above the worry and concern about skills, positions or gifts.  Eventually, as we draw closer to Christ the things of the world will, indeed, grow strangely dim. We will laugh at the things that used to cause us concern or dismay. Instead we will focus on Jesus, desiring to know him more and more. We become drawn into the more excellent way and filled with holy love. This is the greater gift and we are to strive for this, ever on a journey, always getting to know more of Christ and God’s holy love. 

Prayer:

Lord, my desire is to strive for the greater gifts. Please, fill me with your holy love. Amen. 

Comments

  1. This is sp true!!
    "Some of the people with the most incredible spiritual gifts I know are not ministers. When I call people together to pray it is a group of committed laywomen whom I know — and I know that they can pray down heaven! "

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