Thursday, October 06, 2005

I Corinthians 12: 1-11

First the obvious. This passage begins a section “concerning spiritual gifts”, and even includes a “gift list”. Do you know your spiritual gifts? Are you diligently developing them? Are you faithfully using them?

Purity of the heart is to will one thing, wrote Soren Kierkegaard. Are you with great focus and clarity and devotion offering your gifts in the intentional building of God’s kingdom?

But then the less obvious. William Barclay says of verses 1-3 that they contain two battle cries: Let Jesus be cursed! and Jesus is Lord!

We expect the first to come from the world around us; if not literally, then figuratively as Jesus and his teachings are cast off as unrealistic and irrelevant and outdated.

But apparently this cry also came from within the church; people caught up in ecstatic utterances sometimes weren’t aware of what we were saying. Paul says that no matter how dramatic such displays may be, they are not of the Spirit.

And I wonder. Is there a message here to the church? In pursuing ever bigger and bigger churches, ever more grandiose and dramatic services, is it possible we find ourselves buying more into popular culture than what really mattered to Christ our Lord? Is it possible that as spectacular as some of our ministries may be, that they have in essence cast off Jesus as “accursed” to embracing the “blessing” of secular contemporary society around us?

Whatever the case may be, Paul clearly calls us to make the second proclamation our battle cry; the singularity around which our life revolves and which unleashes in it a power unlike any this world has ever known.

A lot is written; a lot is said; even Bibles themselves have become Big Business. But in the end it’s all pretty simple:

Is Jesus our Lord? Do we strive with all that is in us—with heart and passion and mind and soul and the very best we have to give—to humbly yield our whole life to Him?

Oh dear friends, may that be the deepest and truest cry of our hearts!

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