So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
I can hear it now; a song I first heard years ago by Dallas Holm: "What is this striving for?" It described the repeated striving by the disciples of Jesus over who was the greatest. It broke Jesus' heart to have his followers arguing and divided by such childish selfishness. In the midst of this chapter, Paul is telling this church that they are focusing on the wrong thing: who has the showiest gift. They wanted to be seen, heard, and idolized. Instead, they were rubbing each other the wrong way, and turning off those who were outside of the church. Here Paul tells us what we should be striving for: building each other up, and in the process, building up the body as a whole. We need to turn our eyes off of ourselves and focus on what we can do to encourage each other, and to clearly speak and show the love of Christ to a watching world. Not to impress, but to impact, for Him. What are we striving for? Self-centered things? Or those things that show the selflessness of our Savior?
Friday, July 28, 2017
The Lord's Supper, Communion - a regular part of the Christian life, whether one does it weekly, monthly, or twice a year. It looks back to Christ's selfless sacrifice on our behalf to bring us together with God and one another. It can and should be a precious time of fellowship and a common reminder of our faith. But it is not always so. It can be for show - not only in the sense of "going through the motions," but also in a "look at me and what I have" kind of way. It can even be selfish if one can afford to bring something to the table, but it too lazy or cheap to do so. If there is any holding back on sharing freely and fully, we are totally missing the point. The next time you prepare (and if you're not going to for any reason - that's an issue too!), step back, look at your heart, your motives, your words and actions. It is all in honor and memory of Christ? Is there any way He would look, shake His head and say: "Not what I had in mind..."