Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.1 Corinthians 12: 21-26
In a team-building exercise a few years ago, we were asked to describe another person in a single word. When the “teammate” was asked to describe me, he used the word “intense.” He may have been trying to be kind, but I am okay with the description because in most instances it is accurate.
In the verses above, Paul once again refers to a list of gifts in the church and then he encourages us to earnestly desire the higher gifts. I remember a pastor who underscored the importance of the word “earnest” as it refers to a sincere and intense conviction. Are we seeking God’s best gifts with intensity?
Earnest desire is commended, but there is still a “more excellent way.” In the next chapter, Paul will address the greatest gift.
Chapter twelve covers a variety of gifts intended to be a work in the local church, both in Corinth and in the church today. So again there are some questions to consider as individuals within the larger group of believers: Am I content with being a “consumer” of what the church has to offer me? To quote Paul, the response should be “God forbid.” Instead, we should look for how our gifts can be useful for encouraging others.