25 June – 1 July 2017.
One of the most dangerous and serious sins is pride. We know that Jesus teaches us to be humble, but the pride that hides deep down in our human nature always pushes back against Jesus’s command. We like to be the best, to be the most important, and to be the center of attention. Sometimes we want to be the best so much that we push others down and climb over them to get to the top. Sadly, this can even happen in the church. In today’s text, we find that believers at the church of Corinth certainly had this problem.
During church services in Corinth, everyone wanted to be the center of attention. Instead of using their gifts to serve the community and each other, they competed against one another during service. Some wanted to sing their songs, others wanted to stand and pray out loud, some tried to quiet people down so they could teach, others wanted to proclaim their own revelations, and if that wasn’t bad enough still others were speaking loudly in tongues! While it’s great for everyone to be involved in worship, in Corinth things were just a mess. Everyone wanted to be the center of attention, and the result was chaos. Even worse, none of this was being done to worship God or to build up other believers; instead people simply wanted to steal attention for themselves and build up their own ego.
That’s why Paul reminds the church community in v. 33 that: “God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” Our church services shouldn’t be a chaotic battle for attention, but an ordered worship of our God. And in v. 26 Paul also reminds them: “Let all things be done for building up,” for supporting one another in the church. We come together on Sundays not to boost our own egos but to serve and strengthen one another.
Finally, all through Paul’s missionary work he stressed how important it was for all Christians to use their gifts to serve God and others, regardless of their gender or age. Paul taught us that in Christ there is no man or woman, and in many texts he supported women in their active role of teaching, preaching, prophesying, and praying. After all, since the time of Jesus women have always been great disciples. How sad it is then that a scribe in later generations added verses 34–35 into Paul’s letter, arguing against the role of women in the church. It’s a sad reminder to us, again, of how quickly the terrible power of pride can find ways to push others down and build up one’s own ego instead.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis