DEVOTIONAL

Musings

“Then Jesus said to Simon,’ Do not be afraid: from now you will be catching people.’ When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.” Luke 5:10-11
 
The story of Jesus invitation to Simon Peter to “catch people” is a familiar one to many of us in the church.
 
I hear a story of resistance and mission. Here the resistance comes in contemporary terms as “that is not my experience, but I will comply so you will see for yourself.” The mission comes as a change in paradigm. For Simon Peter, this event was so profound he dropped to his knees, confessed his doubt, then left the life he knew to follow a man he just met. Why?
 
In a world like the one we live in today, there are many good reasons to just stick with what we think we know. We too are resistant to seeing things from another angle/perspective/viewpoint. Who are we listening to? How are we making room for Jesus to continue to transform us?

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“Spiritual Gifts”

Luke 4:21-30 (Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
 
Folks may be tiring of hearing me say this…when looking at a biblical text, take a moment to look at what comes immediately before and after the text at hand – it can be illuminating! Let’s look at the verses which bookend 1 Corinthians 13:
 
But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way (12:31)
Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts (14:1)
 

Clearly, Chapter 13 is related to Paul’s concept of “spiritual gifts.” That’s all the clearer when one looks at the gifts that Paul addresses in Chapter 12, beginning with these familiar words:

 
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  To one is given through the Spirit…to another…(12:4-8).
 
These gifts include: speaking in tongues (12:10, 28, 30); prophecy (12:10, 28-29); and knowledge (12:8). Clearly these gifts are…well, gifts. They are good. But in Chapter 13 Paul reveals a “more excellent way” (12:31). And, to doubly reinforce the connection being made here, the more excellent way is contrasted with the very gifts that Paul has just sung the praises of:
 

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God Pause

from Luther Seminary