Let love be your highest goal!
Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. 1 Corinthians 14:1a & 12 (NLT)
There was a lot of confusion in the early church (as if there isn’t now!).
Controversy over spiritual gifts in the church at Corinth caused Paul to write a letter to clarify what the gifts were for, and how to seek/use them. One of the biggest issues was over speaking in tongues. Paul’s letter made it clear; all the gifts were special abilities given by God to bless and strengthen the ministry of His church. But when Paul listed the spiritual gifts, “love” was at the top of the list and “tongues” was at the bottom.
Paul said love ought to be our highest goal.
That didn’t mean “tongues” was improper; any gift given by God is a good thing. It’s just that when a good thing replaces the best thing, the highest goal is left in the rear-view mirror. The problem stemmed from confusion. A gift causing confusion is not a gift being used properly.
A Lesson for Everyone
It’s easy to apply this lesson to any part of Christ’s body, the church. If you have a gift of serving, preaching, speaking, encouraging, et al, your gift is still second to loving like God loves. If your gift begins to get in the way of acts of love towards people, your gift is blocking your love for God. The good has become the enemy of the best.
We all have our “pet projects”. I’ve known trustees who thought the buildings were everything. I’ve known preachers who thought a sermon was everything. I’ve known musicians who imagined the kingdom depended on the right beat. I’ve seen church fellowship and harmony destroyed over petty territorial bickering that had nothing to do with love.
The lesson is – the gift was not given to strengthen you so you’ll have power; the gift is given to you so you will strengthen the power of the church to love your community; and that, through loving and serving others, you will be serving and loving God.
The best gifts run a distant second to loving.
An expression I’ve always loved is, putting feet to our prayers. It means we pray, then get up and DO something.
Today, why not make your prayer a request that God reveal to you how to love. Then, put EARS to that prayer – listen for God’s heart speaking to yours.
The feet will come later in an opportunity to love someone.