27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
The Way of Love
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 12:27–13:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Work
In my experience, limited as it is, I have witnessed a spectrum by which most of us find our identities. On one end of the spectrum is career. Many people indentify themselves by their careers. Professional church leaders (I being one myself) are some of those who do that, but I think those who are involved in any kind of helping profession (doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, etc.) are in similar situations. Our loved ones sometimes feel that we never “turn off” the job part of us and learn to just be ourselves, because if we’re honest, over time we lose ourselves in those kind of honorable jobs.
One the other end of the spectrum is relationships. Some people find their identity in their relationships. Admittedly I see this spectrum more often in women than men, but I do not think it is specifically tied to gender. You know examples of these people… they are those who would rather not work at all and just be a parent or grandparent. I am not talking about all stay-at-home moms or dads here. Some parents make career sacrifices so that they can be at home and spend more time with their children. I’m talking about the ones to whom their job is just a job and their relationships (children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, etc.) are their life.
Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between these two poles. It is just the question of whether or not it is important to you to be able to do something productive or to be connected with others. Paul reminded the Corinthian church family that we need both in our life and that neither is more important than the other. Instead of using work or relationships as a focus, he turns instead to godly love.
Love, he explains, makes work work. If you try to serve God without love, the service becomes worthless. Likewise with relationships - just having these connections with others is meaningless without love. Not just any love either. Godly love, as shown by God, that is patient, kind, forgiving, never giving up… When your loved ones look at you, do they see the love of God? That is the ultimate answer to our question of identity and the ultimate reason for our work and the relationships God has brought into our lives.
Reflection: Who in your family best shows the love of God? Where do you see the love of God among those with whom you work? How is God leading you to show His love more at work or at home?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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