I approach 1 Cor 14:1-40 with caution. I see the tag lines, foot notes and debates of gifts - tongues, prophecy, healing all jumbled up with words like Cessasionist, Charismatic and Continuationist. The three Cs. But what about the big resounding PL?
Right there in verse 1 of chapter 14 is a wonderful command. Pursue Love. Yet how easy do we skip this part and jump on the wagon of gift bashing? Pursuing Love is the very context in which we are to desire gifts and build up the church. You can't do without it.
Yet how often do we approach church, the body of Christ with the wrong attitude? We ask ourselves how can church serve me. How can I use my gifts? And then when we can't or aren't given that opportunity we begin to feel dissatisfied. We start to feel like we don't fit in.
We go into church thinking that this is a place to receive, sit back and soak in and then grumble when things don't hit the spot of our consumer satisfaction.
But church is not about me. Its not about how I can be served or what I get out of the sermon or what I get out of the worship or how I fit in. It's not even how I am going to use my gifts, because there is a chance that at times we can't and we kick up a fuss. We make the gifts about us rather then Jesus. We love the idea of serving in a church when we have our names on a rota. It feels like that is better service then sitting and talking to an older person, or talking to an international student and inviting them to dinner or encouraging the preacher. They don't put them on rotas do they? It says a lot about our hearts and our desire for praise. Its all pride.
Plus, church is more then just Sunday. Its everyday of the week. Which is why we need to pursue love. To have our minds renewed about encouraging and serving the Body of the Christ. Church is not about you and your needs, stop thinking that it is, but be ready to encourage those around you, be ready to love and to serve in ways that won't get you on a rota or praise from the front.
The point of pursuing love isn't to sit back, but to Pursue. It means it will be hard, there will be set backs. But our identity is in Jesus, meaning we keep pursuing, keep loving, keep serving and keep giving.
Think of this. If everyone in church had the attitude of serving others rather then taking, then we will be serving each other in unity of the Gospel. Everyone would fit in. Everyone would be encouraged. As a body we will be reflecting Jesus Christ. Amazing.
*Ideas taken from Relay 3*