1 Corinthians 12: 12 So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the grace and love of God, expressed so freely through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"Grow up. Stop whining. Act your age," our words I speak rather frequently to both my seven year old daughter and my four year old son. "Act your age not your shoe size," does not yet work on them since technically their shoe sizes are bigger than their age. (Although Michelle has appropriately used that line on me).
Know who's more difficult to deal with than kids? Us. Grown folks. Especially grown-ups in the church. (And in presidential politics for that matter).
Think about all the childish behaviors we permit in our faith communities. "That's my pew." "You didn't call me when I was missing last Sunday." "We never did it that way before." "That music hurts my ears." "The sermon was too political." Unfortunately, the list can and does go on and on in ways we can make everything about us.
In the book of 1st Corinthians, Paul is writing a letter to the church in Corinth that is struggling with lots of conflict and unhealthy behavior. Chapter 12 especially focuses on spiritual gifts and speaking in tongues. Some received the gift and could speak in tongues and others received different gifts and could not. However, those who spoke in tongues believed they were "better" believers, "sanctified" saints or "cherished" children of God. Those who did not speak in tongues were not as worthy, blessed or gifted. Those who spoke in tongues made it all about me, or we or just us. Sound familiar?
It may not be in the category of speaking in tongues but those who sing with an angelic voice may feel more needed than those who have the gift of wise counsel; or those who have oratory gifts and can preach feel more important than those who have a gift of hospitality. Or on other levels, married parents may feel morally superior to teenage moms, or employed financially stable folks may internalize more worth than those suffering from the grips of poverty.
No matter the gifts you have or don't have; the zip code you reside; the amount of money you have in your bank your pocket; your skin color, your gender identity, your sexuality, your political affiliation - guess what? You are, and I am, created by God and blessed with spiritual gifts to be used for the building of the community around us. Our gifts are for the building of the church not our own ego!
So, let's be grown-ups and share our gifts for thebuilding up of the community of faith. Let's live knowing yes, we are blessed but we are blessed to be a blessing to those around us.
Love, Pastor G