5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Have you ever had someone help you with a computer issue? You watch them intently because you want to see and understand how they are fixing the problem but soon the clicking is happening too fast and the screen is changing from one thing to another and windows are opening and then closing. What you hoped to be instructional is now just a blur. If the help ends there your computer will be working again but the downside is that if the problem reoccurs you will be as helpless all over again.
There is a famous proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.
When Jesus was here He was often asked to perform another sign or miracle. We are drawn to them. Miracles draw a crowd but they don't draw hearts and minds. People go to magic shows and have a good time. They may even ponder for weeks what happened or how it happened but they aren't drawn into a relationship with the magician.
The gift of tongues had almost become a toy in the Corinthian church. Like a computer whiz or a magician people were trying to dazzle others with their gift but no one was being helped by any of it. It was a misuse of the gift and a misunderstanding of what it was for. God desires that we know Him, that we understand Him, and that we in time come to love and trust Him. Every gift is given for that purpose. I can speak more than one language but who would be benefited if I walked into a church where no one could understand the language I was speaking? They would leave having learned I speak a language they don't and that would be it.
The lesson in all this is simple. We are gifted by God to serve others, not ourselves. We are gifted by God to lift up Jesus, not ourselves. Musical instruments were not invented to make sound, they were invented to make music. If our lives and our gifts are not being used to bring to others a deeper, clearer understanding of God than we are not making music, we are just making noise.
The issue in Corinth wasn't tongues. It was pride, ego, and selfishness.
Just ask yourself one simple question. Am I using my gifts to serve others and draw them to Jesus or am I using them to draw attention to myself?