What's Our Motive?
As people, we seek many things. Among those are knowledge, happiness, money, as well as many other earthly attributes. The men and women of the first century church were no different, and in fact, they sought many spiritual gifts as well. Paul the Apostle addressed these gifts in chapter 13 of his first letter to the Corinthian church. Such gifts that the early Christians were seeking were prophecy, knowledge, speaking in tongues, as well as other divinely given gifts to help proclaim the word of God.
These gifts were sought by those in the church for many different reasons. One reason was for the personal prestige of having a certain spiritual gift. Paul’s writing with regard to this issue was to inform the people that each gift was special in its own way. Do we as Christians today hold certain knowledge or talents above others within the church? Finishing his instructions in regard to these gifts, Paul says that “love” is the greatest (1 Corinthians 13:13). Christians in Corinth were desiring certain gifts, which gave them a certain ability to serve the church, for a purpose which did not include love.
This is still just as prevalent for us today, as it was in the first century church. Whatever we do, whether it be evangelism, Bible study, benevolence, or any other deed we deem to be “Christian,” if we do so without love, then according to Paul, it is useless. Love must be the driving force behind everything we do. We must show others the same love that Christ showed us. After all, we were lost in our sin, and it is only out of His love for us that Christ gave Himself up for our salvation. So let us not seek personal gain, recognition, or anything else that would adhere to our own benefit, and let our deeds stem from our love for God and for His people.