Just came up to 1 Cor 14 in my reading, and I have the following note attached to the chapter:
Just read I Cor 14 in my regular Bible reading, and it struck me that underlying the whole chapter is the assumption that in coming to church, you should not be coming for what you can be getting spiritually, but for what you can be giving spiritually.
The person who comes to church and just sits there speaking in tongues, Paul indicates, is contributing to his own spiritual life well enough, but is not contributing to the spiritual life of the rest of the church in any way that couldn't be accomplished just as well by himself. But that's not what church is for. We come together to build up each other, not just to get ourselves built up.
And it strikes me that this is in some ways opposite to the way we often think about church. The idea is often that each of us comes in order to get his spiritual tank "filled up"for the week - we come to get something for ourselves to help us make it. The picture Paul gives here, though, is that we should come to build up the spiritual life of the rest of the church with whatever of the diverse spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us.
This difference in our motivation for gathering as a church seems to me to be at least worth trying to wrap our heads around.