But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. — 1 Corinthians 12:31
Higher gifts. More excellent way. These sound like comparatives. They are, if you are talking about us. But these words that the Holy Spirit gives to Paul are not about us. They are only and always about what He desires us to have!
The Lord wants you to know that your simple gifts are in no way simplistic. They are glory! But not your glory. They are His glory. If you read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 you see some fantastic gifts being called lower gifts. Healing. Tongues. Interpretation. These are all fantastic if you were to have them. It is hard to see any way in which these are lesser gifts.
That is until you read what the Lord desires as a higher gift. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about it. The higher gift is love! There is no greater gift than love. Jesus talks about that in John 15:13 when He says that “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friend.” This is the kind of love that we have been given. God loved the world so much that He gave us Jesus. Jesus loved us so much that He died and rose. There is no greater gift of love. Jesus says so!
And this greater love that God has given us in Jesus is an active love! It is given so that we can give it away. That is what our stewardship is all about. Giving freely of the greater love that we have been given!
The financial gifts we render are indeed lesser gifts. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t important or valuable. But they are lesser if they are not connected to love. The love they are connected to by the Holy Spirit is a love that comes from the Lord, through us, to others. We become a conduit of love that flows out to those who need it. This involves service. This involves activity. It also involves financial resources. When taken together, packaged in love, these simple gifts do amazing things! Let’s see together what the Lord will do with these simple gifts!
©2019 The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Used with permission.