What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels?
If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge?
And what if I had faith that moved mountains?
I would be nothing, unless I loved others.
What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burned alive?
I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (CEV)
Without love â€“ active love â€“ I am nothing. It is good for me to read familiar passages like this in a different version because it makes me slow down and think about what I am reading.
Languages, speaking in tongues, prophesy, great wisdom and knowledge, even great faith is nothing if I do not love? Paul didn’t think this up out of his own mind. He was speaking from what he knew from the Scriptures (in his case, the Old Testament) and what he had been told about Jesus. Yes, God did extraordinary things. He was Creator. Jesus was known to be about miracles, too, but it was love that is the river that runs throughout God’s relationship with His children. It is this love that has come to me. It is this love that flows through me. It is my primary task as an ambassedor of Jesus Christ to live that love and pass along that love to others.
Prayer. â€œGreater love has no one than to lay down his life for another.â€ (John 15:13) It is in praying for someone that I truly feel that my life is laid aside. I am standing in that Holy of Holies and I am stepping back so that the Father’s eyes are on another person. I am opening my heart to the Father that this person matters and in turn I see the great love that the Father has for this person, and for me as He listens and answers. Such intimacy!
Service. God has really been giving me an ongoing lesson about service to others and how important it is to Him. I am not in ministry that involves publishing books. We have over 50 books in our catalog now and most of them have something to say about serving others. Renee Crosby’s Soup Kitchen for the Soul and Dr. David Black’s The Jesus Paradigm may each have a very different focus but their foundation of their theology is Jesus’ example of servanthood. Whether feeding 5,000 or washing feet, Jesus did the basic and arguably the mundane that expressed His extravagant love to those to whom He came in contact. Thatis His legacy to me as a disciple.
Presence. Jesus spent 33 years here on earth. He could have fulfilled His mission in a much shorter time. But He wanted to give to us an example that shows us how important our presence is in the lives of others. For better or worse, my life leaves â€œfootprintsâ€ on the life of every person I meet. Jesus’ example is one of grace (unconditional love) and mercy (unconditional forgiveness). It is encouragement that we need more of in the Church, more than prophets. Listening with a heart of compassion and wisdom.
Love. So simple and yet maybe the hardest concept and command from God for me to obey. Most of us have trust â€œissuesâ€ that hold us back. It is God who can show me how to love and who to love and when to love and where there is the need for love. Following Jesus’ footsteps I learn as I am in His presence.