All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? . . . But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.
–1 Corinthians 12:29, 31
Years ago, I was invited to Anchorage, Alaska, to lead a weeklong revival. While I was there, the host church decided they wanted to give me a true Alaskan experience. So they arranged for me to go dogsledding. They took me out in the middle of the wilderness, and the man who owned the dogsled team gave me a few instructions. Let me emphasize the word “few.” Then he turned over the reins to me, and off I went into the wilderness.
I have to admit that the first thirty minutes were pretty rough. But after a while, I started to get the hang of it, and I actually started to enjoy the experience. As I was gliding through the Alaskan wilderness, I thought, “This team of dogs is what the church is supposed to be like.” The lead dogs were up front leading the team, but they could not do it alone–they were harnessed together with six other dogs who were important to the operation. As long as everybody was going in the same direction, it worked out fine. But every now and then, one of the dogs in the back got tired of being in the back and decided he wanted to go in a different direction. As a result, I ended up in a ditch more than once. It only worked when everyone was going in the same direction.
What a perfect analogy for the church. The fact is, we all cannot be the lead dogs, but every member is vital to the smooth running of the body of Christ. When members of the body start heading in different directions, you are going to have problems. That was happening in the Corinthian church. Some of the Corinthians were the lead dogs, so to speak. They had what they thought were superior spiritual gifts, so they felt they did not need the rest of the body. And the people who had so-called inferior gifts, those who were involved in less visible ministries, began to think they were not important, so they moved away from the body of Christ. The result was friction and division in the Corinthian church.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:29-31, “All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”
What is the answer to conflict in a church, in a family, or in a friendship? Paul gave us the answer, the “more excellent way,” in chapter 13. What the church needs now, Paul said, is love. Love is the grease that makes everything in life run more smoothly–friendships, families, and certainly the church.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What the Church Needs Now” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.