Most of you probably know that 1Cor 13 is called the love chapter. It’s one of the most popular chapters in the Bible. But we’re not going to talk about that today. I want to look at chapter 14:1-25, where Paul said that all the spiritual gifts are great, and that we should desire them all, but that the gift of prophesy is the one to desire the most. And remember, there is much more than telling of future events with this gift.
The gift of prophecy is the telling of God’s message. Paul said that “the person who prophesies speaks to people for edification, encouragement, and consolation. 4The person who speaks in another language builds himself up, but he who prophesies builds up the church. 5I wish all of you spoke in other languages, but even more that you prophesied. The person who prophesies is greater than the person who speaks in languages, unless he interprets so that the church may be built up.”
One of the common themes in scripture is “other centeredness”, the opposite of self centeredness. Paul said in this chapter that speaking is tongues is great and all, but it really just builds up the person doing the speaking. Prophecy builds up the church.
The Christian life is not, and it has never been about doing for one’s self. It’s about serving others and helping the lost to find a relationship with the God of the universe. It troubles me deeply when I see preachers become wildly wealthy from their congregation. I don’t have a problem with them if they earn a living that is comparable with the people they minister to, but a few of them become far wealthier than that. Seems very self serving to me.
Your job and mine is to serve others. And to have the gift of prophecy, the ability to accurately and effectively communicate God’s message is at once an honorable and humbling calling.