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July 27, 2014 

Seek the Good of Others 

1 Corinthians 14:13-26

Forty-five years ago this month, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Apollo 11 lunar module onto the surface of the moon. Upon walking on the moon's surface, Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The Apollo 11 mission cost over $350 million in 1969; the approximate equivalent today is $1.7 billion.1 Then as now, some people wondered about the wisdom of spending so much money on space exploration when there were millions of people around the world starving and without proper housing, medical care, and clean water. It is often difficult to find the proper balance when setting priorities, determining budgets, and allocating funds.

Finding balance in the body of Christ is also important, not only with material resources but also when it comes to gifts of the Spirit. The Christians at Corinth struggled over the role of various spiritual gifts in worship. Paul reminded them that each person in the church has one or more spiritual gifts, and each person should be encouraged to contribute those gifts. Sometimes the church needs one particular gift rather than another at that particular time, but the gifts of each person work together for the good of all.

The Corinthians particularly struggled with the gift of speaking in tongues. Some of them believed it was more important than the other gifts and should be prominent. Paul reminded them, "Prophecy is a sign for believers" (1 Corinthians 14:22). However, he also said, "Tongues are a sign for those who dont believe." Both gifts, he said, as well as the various others, have a place in the faith community. The goal in the exercise of spiritual gifts within the church should be to seek the good of others and build up the church.

  1. Where do you struggle to find balance in your life? What important things seem to compete for top billing? What do you do to achieve personal balance?
  2. What should be the top three priorities of your church? Who should decide these priorities?
  3. Which spiritual gifts are most evident in your church? Do some spiritual gifts seem more evident in your church than others? Which spiritual gifts are present but are exercised quietly and behind the scenes?

Reverend Lou Hornberger is the pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania.


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