There was a parent who thought they showed love to their child. This child was given all the cool toys, but the parent would not play with the child. The child was taken on all the fancy vacations, but the parent would not ride on the rides with the child. This child had ample food, snacks, and candy, but this parent would not eat dinner at the table with this child. This parent replaced love with works and gifts, when all the child really wanted, was to spend time with their parent. This parent probably wore themselves out shopping, traveling, and working to pay everything off, when the child just wanted love. I am not saying these things are bad, as long as they are not an attempt to replace the love that is needed to nourish children. I find it interesting that we can add up all the things that this parent had done for this child, and the child counted it all as meaningless. In the same manner, our passage today explains that we as Christians can wear ourselves out doing “stuff,” but unless it is done in love, it too is meaningless.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)
As I study God’s Word, I use various books and commentaries to grasp a better understanding. I had recently looked this passage up In The Message, a Bible paraphrase. In correlation to our passage today it uses this phrase, “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” I don’t really know why, but when I saw the word bankrupt, it just captured my attention so strongly. To think we can do all these things and still be spiritually bankrupt. I don’t believe Paul is saying that these things alone are meaningless. The point that Paul is making is the same message that this child had for their parent, love is what is important. Think back to the last time you gave to a charity or a person in need. Did you do it because you felt guilty, or to make yourself look good, or perhaps to make yourself feel good? Paul’s desire is for us to have a love and compassion for those around us. God wants us to have faith to move mountains, God wants us to give to the poor, but He wants us to do it in love. Paul says that if I do all this without love it profits me nothing. The Pharisees were masters at keeping the letter of the law, but they still missed Heaven completely because they did not understand the love that God was calling them to, the same love that God is calling us to today. In fact, these Pharisees were trying to trip up Jesus. One asked Him what the greatest commandment was. “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”” God is love. Jesus showed love, and Paul preached love, all so we could understand that we are to walk in love. As we approach Valentine’s Day, I want to encourage you to wrap everything thing you do and say in love. When we walk in love, live in love, and share love, we will please our Heavenly Father.
Dear Loving and Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for the many gifts that we receive each day. I pray that we can take this word that you gave us today and live it out. Let us become a generation that walks in love in the manner that you have called us to. We pray this in the name of our Loving Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen