How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
This was about the conduct of the Corinthian Christians when they would come together for worship, fellowship, and God’s word. Those gatherings of the church were to be a time when people came to participate and to give to one another, not merely to passively receive.
Out of necessity, the Corinthian Christians met in small groups in different homes. There were many “house churches” scattered over Corinth. In these small groups, there was freedom and responsibility to receive and give. One might give by reading or singing a psalm. Another might offer a word of teaching. Someone might pray in a tongue, along with an interpretation. Someone else might have a revelation, a word from God’s heart and mind to the gathered church. In a small, home-fellowship type setting, this is how the church should work together.
When more people are gathered, this “everybody shares something with everyone else” is more difficult. Among ten people, ten can share something with all the other ten. But among thirty, or sixty, or a hundred people, there isn’t time to allow everyone to share something with everyone else. Plus, in a larger group, the “I want to feel important by talking to everybody” factor is much more present. It may be present among ten people, but how much more among a hundred! This is why some are blessed and find great spiritual growth through a home group; it provides a better context for the “everyone shares something with everyone else” idea.
At the same time, the heart of “everyone shares something with everyone else” can happen in a larger church, but it is more expressed in “everyone shares something with someone else.” It says, “I am coming to church, but not only to receive a blessing. I come to give a blessing to someone, and I will ask God for an opportunity to bless someone today.” This way of thinking can make the fifteen minutes before a church meeting and the thirty minutes after the best and most exciting time of the gathering. It is a big mistake to think, “If I’m not up on the platform, I can’t minister to someone else today.” Instead, believers should be on the lookout for opportunities to pray with people, encourage, help, meet, bless, counsel, admonish, and love one another every time they come to church.
Big church or little church, house church or “regular” church, God calls us to come to the gatherings of His people not only to receive, but to give. We give our attention, our worship, and our listening ear to the Lord. But we also give to one another in just the way Paul described. This can revolutionize your church-going experience – so let that revolution, a very Biblical revolution, begin.