ODJ: Greater Gifts

May 8, 2016 

READ: 1 Corinthians 12:1-31 

So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts (v.31).

Today Mother’s Day is celebrated in my corner of the world (America). We take our mums out to eat, send them cards and post our love for them on social media sites. I’ve noticed that most people don’t praise their mum for being a dynamic speaker, an inspirational leader or an accomplished musician. We love our mums for much simpler things.

Paul explains why in his chapter on the spiritual gifts. He says that in the body of Christ, “the parts we regard as less honourable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen . . . . God has put the body together such that extra honour and care are given to those parts that have less dignity” (1 Corinthians 12:23-24).

Paul is delicately referring to our sexual organs, the most earthy—and for that reason appreciated—members of our body. He says this priority on the practical is also true of our spiritual gifts. The gifts we each receive are necessary for the health of the whole body of Christ. We may possess gifts that quietly minister or gifts which are more public such as teaching, music or leadership. But what others most appreciate are the practical ways we love them.

The Corinthians longed for the impressive gift of speaking in tongues, which edified no one unless an interpreter was present (14:1-5). Paul encouraged them to “earnestly desire the most helpful gifts” (12:31), gifts that would “strengthen the whole church” (14:12). Spectacular gifts may impress others, but only practical service will make them feel loved.

How can we truly love others and have a good possibility of them loving us in return? Imitate a loving mum. Meet basic, physical needs—showering them with the love God has poured out on us.

—Mike Wittmer

365-day plan: Job 1:1-22

Read 1 John 3:16-19 and consider the importance of meeting practical, physical needs. 
How would your day change if you focused on what others need rather than on what they think of you? Why not try that today?