In our last visit we discussed the way we are to understand spiritual gifts and their expression or use in and through the church as described in 1 Corinthians 12. The harmony resulting from each believer doing their part, no more and no less, produces a synergism that will attract many to the Lord and build them up in spiritual maturity. This in turn will bring glory to God.
Another element in this concept of corporate harmony is that if any one member suffers, every member will suffer with them. And if any one member is honored, every part rejoices with them (verse 26). Since some gifts are more visible and generally get greater notice and honor, God has designed the church, the body of Christ, to counter this tendency. For Him, the less noticeable gifts are given greater honor than the more visible parts that are honored more by men.
The picture you get in reading this is that we need to exercise sensitivity toward the Holy Spirit and toward each other. This provides the opportunity to encourage and help those who are hurting and to affirm each member as they fulfill their given responsibilities.
When the church operates this way they are indeed giving expression of the love described in chapter 13. This, more than any demonstration of the gifts, is the most excellent way and the most effective and productive way for the church to function. When selfless, unconditional love is experienced in the church, and spiritual gifts are exercised and motivated by such love, it makes the church exponentially more effective and fruitful.