Gifts. Just a few weeks ago we exchanged gifts in recognition of the great gift of God’s Son to us. Today’s reading focuses on our gifts as members of the church, the body of Christ.
Here Paul addresses the church at Corinth, whose members were eager for miraculous gifts-speaking in tongues and healing-thinking that these demonstrated their spiritual superiority. Paul argues that, just as the human body needs all of its parts to function, so does the church. For one member to claim superiority over another creates divisions and prevents members from caring for one another.
But what does Paul mean, after emphasizing the equality of all gifts, that we should strive for greater gifts?
When young friends graduate, I send a card that reads: “May you be blessed with wise teachers, trustworthy guides and steadfast friends who will help you discover the gift you are, the gift the world is waiting for.” In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul identifies love as the greatest gift. Love is not a talent or an accomplishment, but a state of being, sometimes an action.
Perhaps our greatest gift, then, is to give ourselves-who we are-in love to the world that waits for us at church, at work or in school.
Loving God, help us to give the gifts we are to the ones who need us. Amen. — SRN