Speaking to the Soul – May 2

Your gift

Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives—especially the ability to prophesy.1 Corinthians 14:1

1 Corinthians 13 is a really famous chapter and rightly so. But Paul didn’t write in chapters. Chapter divisions arrived about 1,200 years later! So, whenever we see a chapter division, we need to, at least, peer at what happens next. If you only looked at chapter 13 you might think that love is so important that you can forget about the gifts of the Spirit. After all, they have got a limited shelf life, as Paul has just explained. But at the start of chapter 14 he makes it plain that we all need to make love the goal of our lives and, at the same time, seek after the wonderful gifts that the Holy Spirit wants to give us.

The church in Corinth had got into a horrible muddle about spiritual gifts and Paul is trying to straighten them out. Their meetings had become totally disorganised and unhelpful, with people trying to outdo one another as they used their gifts. Paul is eager to give them some clear rules so that they will start appreciating the gifts that God has given them, and use them in a way that will build up the whole church.

Churches can still slip up today. As much as we love the Lord, we still trip over our selfishness and idiosyncrasies, so it is vital that we keep focused on Paul’s wise words. We must continually ensure that we make love our goal, as well as also eagerly seeking after the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

What gift has God given you to build up the Church?

Thank you Lord for the gifts that you have given to your Church. Help me to use my own gift enthusiastically and wisely so that it will help to build your church. Amen.