I was raised in church. So all my life I have heard preaching about various topics. I love to hear the Bible stories and to relate them to my life. I have heard the love chapter read at many weddings. At funerals, the mansions in Heaven are usually discussed excitedly. I enjoy reading the metaphor explaining the people of God’s church with different gifts/abilities that are much like our human body with different parts that help us do different tasks in life. I get humbled as I read about the victory of Jesus over sin and God’s beautiful grace and mercy. I love to read all about the creation.
What is most amazing to me is that there is always something new to discover in God’s Word!
The other day I was reading 1Corinthians chapter 12. It is the chapter all about spiritual gifts. I have always been drawn to this chapter. This may be because I have always wanted to DO as much as possible for God…….or maybe it is pride (maybe I want to BE someone for God)…. This chapter lists the spiritual gifts:
- The ability to give wise advice
- Messages of special knowledge
- Great faith
- The gift of healing
- The power to perform miracles
- The ability to prophesy
The Holy Spirit distributes gifts and decides who gets what gift. When I read it, I get tears in my eyes because I want ALL of those things! I want to be able to help others, be wise, heal and prophesy. I even wrote the following words in my prayer journal that day: “I would love to be gifted any of these wonderful gifts. All of these gifts!
May I be worthy, Lord!”
But wait! A moment later I read the last verse in chapter 12: You should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts. – 1 Corinthians 12:31a
What is the most helpful gift? The easiest answer is, look around you and notice what needs to be done in your church, community, and in the lives of your loved ones. That is the most helpful gift. I discovered in my reading on this particular day, though, that this thinking also fits with the Word, because the next chapter of 1Corinthians is the great love chapter! I had NEVER in all of my life put these two chapters together as a reading. LOVE! LOVE is the greatest gift! Love will last forever (1Corinthians 13:8). Let love be your highest goal (1Corinthians 14:1a)!
1 Corinthians 13:1-3:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others I would have gained nothing.
So the next time I feel sad because I am not a great prophet or healer or miracle-worker, I will remember that I do have spiritual gifts, but the greatest one is LOVE. I will go be LOVE to the world!