“for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB
In our house, we narrate the dog’s thoughts. Somebody will see Zippers make a funny expression and they’ll say “She’s like: “Umm guys I’d like to go to the park too. Is that okay? Or if not, I guess I’ll just stay here.” Then somebody else will chime in… “No, Zippers is like I really like to ride in the car…” and it goes on like that for a while. Then somebody will miss-hear what one of the previous dog interpreters said and will ask “Did you just say, ‘She said she wants to use a fork too?’” And everyone will bust out laughing. It’s not quite the same as speaking in tongues or sharing a revelation of prophecy, but it helps me imagine what it may be like to be in a church where more than one person is trying to do those things at once. With a family of six people plus a big dog, when everybody wants to talk at once, it gets a little overwhelming.
We have grown accustomed to our kids’ speech patterns and can usually understand what they are saying. For quite a while EmmaGrace could only say “ahhhhhh” with subtly different inflections to indicate if she was asking a question or affirming that she wanted milk to drink. As she got a little older she would tell you her favorite color was “lello”- which most people can probably figure out by context. But if she was just pointing out something that was yellow, you might need an interpreter.
When Weston was smaller he drooled more than our English Mastiff. So much so that he earned the nick names “Puddles” and “Weston the wet one”. When he spoke with a mouth full of slobber he sounded a lot like Sylvester from the Bugs Bunny Cartoons. When we make smoothies, they are “poovees” to him. When he had a little tummy bug, he told my mom that he had “buffered in the hall way.” That needed a little interpretation. (It’s the word that rhymes with scarf and when kids did it in school the janitor had to get those funny smelling wood chips).
Carter is all about airplanes. So he loves to talk in acronyms that he learned in his ground school for pilot training. From time to time he talks about MSL, VNO or VNE. I went to most of the classes with him but my 40 year old brain has less RAM (Random Access Memory) than his does. So I can get MSL- Mean Sea Level. I can remember that VNE is one that varies from plane to plane but basically it is the speed at which your wings will probably fall off if you continue to accelerate or hit any kind of turbulence. It is the Velocity to Never Exceed. Sometimes I have to ask him though “What does VNO stand for again? Oh yeah, velocity of normal operation.”
Communication is a two way street. When speaking we have to use words that the audience can understand. We also have to listen to the person that is speaking. I fear I am developing the multigenerational genetic gift of hearing loss, so sometimes I wish life had closed captioning.
1 Corinthians 14 tells us that these unique abilities to receive and deliver messages from God are pretty cool but they really only work if we have some order in the church. We can’t have everybody talking at once.
- Paul seems to assume that the Corinthian church will have more than one person at a time that wants to speak in a tongue or deliver a prophetic word. It is almost like how he assumed they would be practicing communion. Are these gifts practiced in your church today?
- If not, should they be?
- If so, are they practiced as directed by Paul in this chapter?