Love Is / Is Not

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17–14:40

Today’s reading holds some of my favourite passages or topics, as well as the challenging chapter describing what love is!

Paul’s first comment today brings me up short! “…your meetings do more harm than good”! I guess that is what disharmony in the wrong sense does to us! I find it searching to think about whether I bring others more harm than good! – another place (in Romans?) points out to me – these are the brothers and sisters for whom Christ died! – a sobering thought! My girls are and were always precious to me, but knowing Marg loved them with all her heart and soul makes me all the more careful how I treat them and care for them! If Christ died for each individual one of my brothers and sisters (and He did!) what value that gives to my brothers and sisters! So Paul talks about the occasion where we have the greatest privilege of remembering the supreme sacrifice He made and how to conduct ourselves suitably on such an occasion!

Then the beautiful chapter I love – about how we are ONE body and how we function together! EACH ONE is gifted to function in a different way for the good of the WHOLE body. I read with great interest the list of gifts – not sure if it has all the gifts listed but probably fairly complete and then I begin to wonder what each one is in definition and how they work and begin to think about what I or other individual brothers and sisters are! Some gifts are easy to recognize and others are defined in Scripture or seen in action in individuals’ lives recorded in Scripture! What satisfaction that gives me to know I have a special role to play in the body (& I probably have more than one gift and certainly more than one natural talent!) – no one else can duplicate the combination! But it also warns me not to be lazy on the one hand or on the other hand to underestimate the value of my other brothers and sisters. Suddenly I begin to understand and value my other brothers and sisters because they have functions which I can’t do as well as they can (and as I think at a deeper level, I suddenly understand them much better, because I understand that they have a different value system in doing things because of the gift given them)! I smile to myself that it even says “The head (and I know Who that is!) will not say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” So I better not say that or have that attitude about anyone!

And who can stand before Chapter 13. As I have studied it, I noticed that it has eight positive characteristics and eight negative characteristics (or things which it is NOT!) Truly I am beginning to see more and more clearly – without love, we are nothing, gain nothing (and the first one result mentioned humbles me) – I’m just a clanging old cymbal grating on everyone’s nerves!

And the last section of today to me seems to be a comparison of speaking in tongues and prophecy. The underlying rule of thumb seems to be how do I bring benefit, encouragement etc to my brothers and sisters. And in discussing that, it certainly explains what these two gifts are supposed to be used for! When I am good at doing something, I have found that I may do the thing just to get enjoyment for myself – forgetting that the One Who directs my gift is to be my Father, my Lord and the Holy Spirit! So certain rules are laid down for the use of these two gifts and underneath the instructions is an attitude of both courtesy on the one hand, and on the other hand quietly discerning when gifts are malfunctioning. Not sure what you do with gifts malfunctioning but know that the fellow-servants in Matthew 18 came and told their Master about the unfairness of the first servant. Maybe if I was more ‘yoked in with Him,” He could use me more often to come alongside and help to right malfunctioning! Certainly it always brings peace of heart to me to get His perspective on what I talk to my precious Saviour about (and He’s unlike me in that He always is understanding and fair in His discernment. How could He be otherwise since He is all-knowing!) How beautiful You are, my precious Saviour!

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