Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
The Gifts of the Spirits
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (13)
While Apostle Paul recognizes the importance of spiritual gifts in Christian life, he tells that there is something superior to these spiritual gifts. Without love all other gifts are of little importance. Paul is known as the Apostle of the gentiles and in fact not an Apostle appointed by Jesus Christ. He is proclaimed himself as an Apostle especially among the gentiles, since his ministry was mostly among the gentiles. The Corinthian church was both charismatic and carnal. They had all the gifts, yet they were immature in their life situations and evidenced a lack of love in their dealings. The gifts, which the Corinthians considered most highly was the gift of the tongues. They were referred as lesser gifts by Paul. When the Corinthian church overflowed with charisma, it was void of the kind of Christian character which led them to immorality. Spirituality, Paul reiterated, cannot be measured by the presence of any spiritual gifts by itself, including the gift of the tongues. According to Paul, spirituality should be measured by the depth of the love shown between the people.
1 Corinthians Chapter 13 tells us the present church that just as the Corinthians were wrong for placing the more spectacular gifts above the others, so they were wrong in placing excessive emphasis on gifts in general. They were more concerned in manifesting outward appearance than the inner character. Paul showed that love was the preeminent virtue because it enhances the value of spiritual gifts, it enhances the unity and relationships of the saints, and it endures for all eternity, in contrast to the temporary nature of all gifts, which we consider as valuable. This appears to be true in the case of present church and its members. We value structures and administration and physical aspects more than the spiritual aspects. We do not even welcome people from other cultures to our parishes. We do not try to accommodate the less fortunate, the marginalized or the troubled one in to our midst. We value the importance of worshipping centered on our culture more than anything else. We forget to love each other, much less love our neighbors.
We are celebrating the 66th Independence Day of our mother land, India on August 15, 2013. It appears that some of the people in India think that they have the freedom to everything including raping women and sexually abusing children and then murdering them. The people in India are also considered as very religious too like the Corinthian church. But freedom is not to do anything we want to do, but to be used wisely for the safely and benefit of those around us and to protect the society as a whole.
Prayer: Lord, set our minds to achieve the goals that you value the most important, especially your teaching to love your neighbor as yourself. Lord, make us instruments of love so that we can share our resources with the less fortunate and marginalized and the troubled ones among us.
Thought for the day: A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus. – Thomas Carlyle
Theme of the Week: The gifts of the Spirit.
Lal Varghese, Dallas