Because Corinth was a wealthy city filled with business activity it possibly compares most closely to our modern Western church than any of the others. The Corinthians were opinionated, trendy and fell easily for some of the attractions of the world around them. But these people who struggled with more issues than most of the other churches combined also held a special place in the heart of the Apostle. He not only devoted two of his longest letters to them, he also visited them often and built a father/son relationship with many of them. When Paul corrects he tells them he did so with tears and concern. In his first letter one of the issues he addressed was their pride. There were brothers and sisters in their church who began to act as if they were better than others. They got their noses a bit up into the air because they felt they were more talented more wealthy and more gifted by God. Paul finds himself forced to remind these people that they shouldn’t consider themselves as the source of their gifts. Rather than being self-sufficient they were instead supposed to remember that anything they had to give had first been given to them.
Whenever the subject of re-gifting comes up at the holidays, I find myself torn. On one side of the debate are those who say “What a cheap skate!” and on the other “Why buy things that people don’t need with money we don’t have?” The Apostle Paul enters into a debate just to remind us that there is nothing that we have or ever will that originated with us. We are in fact simply recipients of so much that we can do nothing else as God’s children but to give to others what has been given first to us! So don’t be ashamed to be a re-gifter! Tell your friends and family this Christmas. I am just giving a little to you of the many things that I already received!