In the New Testament, ministry is focused primarily on how believers “devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching,” as well as sharing, worshipping, and praying (Acts 2:42).
Paul introduced “the most excellent way,” as opposed to an exaggerated emphasis on one of the spiritual gifts.
This “way” is serving each other for love’s sake (agape–type love): not for the sake of feeling good toward each other (eros–type love) but for a self–sacrificing commitment to benefit each other.
The foundational concept of the spiritual gifts is described in 1 Corinthians 12:7NIV: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good,” or a “mutual benefit” for the body of Christ. God’s Spirit empowers every believer to serve other believers by complimenting each other’s ministries and creating interdependence within the body of Christ.
The corporate body of Christ is to “continually or habitually be pursuing love,” our highest goal. Discovering our spiritual gifts is not the most important thing. When we are committed to serving others, eventually our gifts will become evident through personal motivation and through feedback from those we have helped.
Believers are to “be continually eager for the spiritual gifts”: a plural corporate command, not an individual focus. The church is to seek out the gifted members and give them special functions that coincide with their spiritual giftedness for the maximum benefit to the whole body of Christ (1 Cor 12:11, 18).
Of all the spiritual gifts, Paul writes, “especially that you may prophesy,” which is contrasted with speaking in tongues throughout chapter 14. There are ten reasons why speaking in tongues is inferior to speaking prophecy, followed by ten rules for controlling the disruptive outbursts of tongues in the Corinthian church.
Of all the gifts, Paul emphasizes that the gift of prophesy should be dominant in the church, because it allows the word of God to give insight, warning, correction, and encouragement (1 Cor 14:3), edifying the church. Believers are to follow leaders who can help them serve in their gifted areas.
“Lord, the gifts You gave the church provide avenues for each of us to serve and benefit others, not to make ourselves feel or look good. Help us understand this and live accordingly to honor and obey You.”