The Way Most Excellent
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Corinthians 12:27-13:8
There are many competing agendas around and among us. We all have our pet issues, pet peeves, pet ideas, and favored routines. We have different ideas of entertainment, enjoyment, relaxation, and fun. We have competing priorities. We have different strengths, and different weaknesses. Our desires, our likes, our dislikes, our tastes vary from person to person. When we focus on how different each one of us is, it may be very hard to consider that we can or even should attempt to become one body, united in Christ Jesus. After all, if God made us all so distinctively, why should we consider even the possibility of joining together in one united body?
At the beginning on this passage, Paul points to a strange-seeming hierarchy. If we look at our churches, very few of us qualify for entry onto the list he mentions. Within that hierarchy, Paul then places emphasis on portions of the list that seem altogether contrary to the way we would order them. You might have noticed that altogether missing from his list are pastors, deacons, and musicians. The closest we have to apostles are missionaries. The closest to prophets are preachers. All too often we lock our teachers away in seminaries and fill Bible study classes with whomever we can talk into taking the responsibility. In churches with a prevalence of ecstatic gifts, tongues are at the top of the list; where they are not prevalent, we place administrators at the top. We give priority to the way our larger society assigns value to others. We value the showy gifts and reward what the world rewards.
Paul says our priorities and concept of importance are all messed up. We should be looking to those who advance the reign and message of Christ as the preeminent among us, but we value instead those who make us feel comfortable, secure, safe, content, and entertained. Our society prizes and rewards the entertainers, as do we. O ...
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