June 1, 2019

No Strings Attached

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 1, 2019

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NRSV)

Though we are hesitant to admit it, one of the driving questions behind many of our decisions in life is “What’s in it for me?” Even when doing a good deed and serving a greater cause, we still like to be rewarded for it or at least be acknowledged for our efforts. For example, think of the annual public broadcasting telethon, with the “rewards” increasing with each level of donation you make. We give, but we want to receive as well.

This inclination towards self isn’t a modern phenomenon but is at the core of what it means to be a human being in a broken world. We are, by default, turned in on ourselves, and this temptation was escalating in the early church. Having recently been taught about the Holy Spirit as a giver of good gifts, the early Christians were eager to receive them. Why? Because we like to receive gifts! They hoped these gifts would make them spiritually enlightened and fulfilled. In fact, an argument was emerging as to who in their community was, in fact, the most “spiritual” of them all. In the face of this escalating debate, Paul steps in to remind them of a foundational truth: God gives you gifts so you can give them away for the good of others!

Rather than getting caught up in comparing gifts or envying others for what they have, Paul reminds us that the Lord is the one who gives gifts, and it is our job to receive them with humility and joy. Do you believe God knows you even better than you know yourself? Do you trust that he desires your good and will empower you to live a flourishing life in his kingdom? If so, rather than focusing on what you lack, cultivate a heart of gratitude and joy for what you have been given! Take time to discern the unique gifts you have been given, and honor that gift by nurturing and cultivating it.

One of the greatest ways to tend to the work and gifts of the Spirit in your life is to continually look for ways to give your life away without any strings attached! Remember that God’s plan isn’t just your private joy and salvation but that he gives himself away for the life of the world (John 6:51). How can you take your part in the grand story of redemption God is telling over creation? In your willingness to give without expecting anything in return, you model and embody a life lived for the sake of others and to the glory of God!

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5:13).

Prayer

Father, help me to see your gifts as the strength and power I need to serve others in your name. Amen.


Application

Who can you serve today without expecting anything in return?


Related Reading

John 12:26; Romans 12:11; Hebrews 6:10


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