1 Corinthians 14:1-25; 2 Kings 8; Jonah 3
There is this weird idea that those who “prophesy” are telling the future. Paul debunks that thought in his letter to the Corinthian Church. The discussion of spiritual gifts was apparently an ongoing debate at the church. Many focused on the “miraculous” gifts as being the most important. The ability to speak in other languages or tongues appeared to be a point of pride. They may not have known what they were saying, but it must have been good because their spirit sure felt stronger. After finishing the “love chapter” Paul continued his teaching by noting the need to teach, or prophesy. “But he who prophecies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.”(1 Corinthians 14:3-4) Paul reminded the Corinthians that it’s “not all about you.” Which is better for the work of the church – somebody strengthening themselves or somone strengthening each and every member of the church? That should be an obvious answer. While using the spiritual gifts God gave us should strengthen us, if it doesn’t also strengthen the church at the same time it really has no to minimal value. Often, those self-involved spiritual gifts lead to people being puffed up and arrogant; an attitude of “I must be pretty special if God gave this gift to me (and you didn’t get it.)” While we, especially in the United States, tend to value personal growth and independence, perhaps we need to remember our dependence on God and our dependence on each other in the church. God works in us to build up the church and we are responsible for listening to God.
Oh Lord, remind me again that it’s not all about me. Work in me so that I may be a fit vessel to build up Your church. Help me to teach and guide others to walk in the path that You have set in front of them. Begin by making me obedient to Your will and help me recognize it when I see it.