Tag Archives: I Corinthians 13

Figuring it All Out…Together

Tuesday Re-mix –

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12

Blind men and puzzleImagine being locked in a dark room with a bunch of other people with whom you must work together to find a way out.  There are obstacles and opportunities throughout the room, but they are difficult to see.  You truly must rely on each other to feel your way through the room, exploring every corner and piecing together the information accumulated by the group.  In such a scenario, your chances of figuring it out all by yourself without anyone else’s help are slim to none.  But together, it can be done.

That is very much like discerning the will of God together as a church body.  For now, when it comes to seeing Spiritual truths, we all see as through a glass dimly.  We are never so arrogant as when we proudly proclaim to the world that we have seen the will of God all by ourselves, and that we clearly understand it better than anyone else.  In this age of the church, that does not seem to be God’s desire.  Rather, He apparently intends that we would learn to come to Him together, seeking His truths together, and gently massaging those truths into one another.

But that process can be truly frustrating, especially in times of conflict.  Working with a conflicted congregation, I often wonder why God doesn’t just make an appearance  in their worship service one Sunday morning and tell them exactly what He is thinking about them and what He wants them to do.  Frankly, it would be a lot easier for them –if not a little …

People Don’t Care How Much You Know…

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

You know the rest of this trite little saying: “…until they know how much you care.” I can’t even begin to recount how many times I’ve heard it repeated in seminars and conferences over the years.  When a saying gets repeated over and over again for a prolonged period of time, that is at least some evidence (though certainly not conclusive) that there is truth to it.  In this particular case, eternal truth.

I don’t even know who said it first.  In my own research, I’ve seen it attributed to dozens of people, from presidents to coaches.  I suppose the earliest quote I’ve seen has it attributed to Thomas Watson, former chairman of IBM.  Who knows?  With information moving around the world in the volumes we see it happening today, it could have been repeated a million times by thousands of different people by now.

The reason this saying has stuck with us so long is that it contains an eternal truth.  I know this because it is remarkably close to what Paul told the church in Corinth:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-2

clanging-cymbalIn other words, you may be the most gifted proclaimer of God’s Word alive in the world today, but if the people you are teaching don’t know that you love them, you are just a bunch of noise.  If they do not perceive …

The Spiritual Gift of Blah, Blah, Blah

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

If I speak in the tonguesof men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3

You really cannot have a complete discussion about unity in the church without talking about Spiritual gifts.  They are, after all, an essential piece to the puzzle.  The Spirit of God Himself, manifesting Himself through the believer, is a huge promise from Him…a promise upon which unity rests.  Without the Spirit of God working in and through us, there would be no hope for unity because there is no other provision for unity other than the Spirit.  How He chooses to manifest Himself, then, through believers (i.e., what we call Spiritual gifts) is a critical cog in the machinery of the church.

Paul begins his discussion of Spiritual gifts in I Corinthians 12 with these words: “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” He then teaches the concept of Spiritual gifts wonderfully, including the whole metaphor of the church as a body.  But then at the end of that chapter, he segues from that discussion with these words: “And now I will show you the most excellent way.” In other words, now he is going to paint a picture of how it all looks in a very practical, understandable way.  And with that …