Summary: A true life of love is a life of interdependence. A life where we gladly know we need one another, where we give and receive love and help and guidance, and we do so in community.
Get Your Gift In Gear
1 Cor 12:1, 4-7, 12-27 Oct 1, 2006
Being truly, completely, wholly, alive – having the life that Jesus promised would be “to the full”, begins by getting on Jesus’ “narrow road” which leads to life, then walking that road “in step with the Holy Spirit”, and then keeping your head up and your eyes on others. As you and I live like that, God’s promise is that our lives will be full.
What It Is Not:
God’s road to this fullness of life is a challenging thing for us to properly grasp, because we have some pretty wrong concepts of what a “full” life is like stuffed down our throats from our culture. Last week we talked about one of those wrong concepts – that a full life means we have lots of money and stuff. That misses the mark. A second wrong concept is that a full life means we will always feel alive – that emotion we feel at those few moments in life where everything seems so much brighter and stronger and glorious. Think perhaps of when your team was playing for the championship, the game comes down to the last play, and somehow you pull out the victory. Or perhaps when you first held your child. Or your first kiss, or when you were really there for a friend, or even that time you really knew the incredible presence of God surrounding you and loving you and filling you.
Each of those are wonderful times, where we really feel alive. Our lives feel full. Now listen closely – God’s road to fullness does not lead us to some place where we feel like that all the time. This is very important, because it is easy for us to think that when Jesus said He came to give us life to the full, it means we should feel the way we felt at those moments. And it is easy to think that if we are not feeling that way, we are doing something wrong, we are missing something, or even that God is holding back on us.
God’s road to fullness is about something deeper than feeling alive. The feelings are good, they are important, I am not diminishing them in any way, but there is something deeper. And that deeper thing is this: A life of love. Often that feels great, and sometimes it feels hard, sometimes it feels sorrow, and sometimes it doesn’t feel at all it just chooses to continue to love. That is the only way that you and I can live in the fullness of life in the long term. By living a life of love.
A Life Of Interdependence:
A true life of love is a life of interdependence. A life where we gladly know we need one another, where we give and receive love and help and guidance, and we do so in community. A life of love is vulnerable, it is open, it is tender, it weeps with those who weep and it laughs with those who laugh. I experienced that this week, as I tried to care for people in need, in turn a number of people cared for me and prayed for me and encouraged me and listened to me share my feelings. I needed those people, and they were there at critical moments.
That idea of interdependence is the one I want to look at this morning, by turning to 1 Cor 12. The chapter is one unit of thought, and the main point is that God has created us to need one another, and given us spiritual gifts so that all of us together can be God’s body. It is one unit, but has far too much for one sermon, so this morning is set up so that we can look at the interdependence part – how we really need one another and how that leads to a life of fullness – in the sermon, and the specific spiritual gifts part in the discussions afterwards, which takes place during the Sunday school hour for adults in the lower hall. This morning, you really need both to get the idea of the passage!
1 Cor 12
1And now, dear brothers and sisters, I will write about the special abilities the Holy Spirit gives to each of us, for I must correct your misunderstandings about them…
4Now there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. 5There are different kinds of service in the church, but it is the same Lord we are serving. 6There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us. 7A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.