I’m in an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. I’m watching a little boy misbehave and disobey one of the workers there. The worker’s name is Anna.
I wait to see what she will do.
How will she get this little boy to follow directions and stop misbehaving?
What would I do?
After bending low and whispering something to him in Spanish, she picks him up, puts him on her lap and holds him close as he collapses into her. After a time of just holding him and loving on him, eventually he was ready to comply.
I don’t know exactly what went on in the interaction that I observed, as I am not fluent in Spanish, but I know what I saw convinced me that Anna had a unique and beautiful way of interacting with those sweet children.
That day I observed my new friend choosing a better way to love.
A lesson on love to the Corinthian church
In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul observed the church at Corinth needed to understand a better way to love. They were so filled with pride and selfishness that they wanted to be the most important in their church. They wanted to have the most honor and they sinfully desired to have the most “showy” spiritual gifts. They were loving themselves as individuals more than they were seeking to love the church as a whole.
Paul used the analogy that the church was like a body. He told them that everyone of them played a role that helped to make up the body of Christ. No one member is more important than the other. They all do their God given part to show Christ to the world around them. Basically, it’s not about them and their edification, it’s about honoring God and representing the Gospel.
The same goal for us today
We might not be able to relate to the desire to have the most “showy” spiritual gifts, or even to be the most important person in our church; however, there are times in our church body, in our families, at work, or at school that we do desire to be first. We do this by thinking that our way is the most important. Our perspective is better than the other person’s and we have a right to not only make that known but to ultimately get our way. As Christians, our main goal at all times should be to honor God. At times it will mean that we forfeit our rights and our way to honor Him.
This not only honors God and reaches the world around us with Christ, but in God’s grace we can have better, sweeter, relationships with those that we worship with and do life with on this earth.
In the last verse of chapter 12 Paul tells the Corinthians that he wants to show them a better way. When you realize that this is the verse that leads up to the epic love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, it sets it up in a whole new way. At least for me it did. I have to stop and wonder, how am I acting like the Corinthian church….in my own church, in my marriage, with my kids and with my friends? It’s a hard question to confront.
That is why I am so grateful that Paul did not leave the Corinthian church (or us today) hopeless. In the last verse in chapter 12 he lets them in on some life changing information: There is a better way!
The love chapter
He goes on in God’s inspiration to pen the epic love chapter that Christians and non Christians alike are so very familiar with. The problem with familiar Bible verses is that we think we already know them and can move past them and on to “deeper” verses. The thing is, we can never move on from 1 Corinthians 13. We need it now just as much as the Corinthian church did all those years ago. This is a month when everyone is talking about and thinking about love. How amazing is it that we as Christians know what true love really looks like? In the next couple of blog posts let’s get reaquanted with 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and seek to love those around us better.