“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3
Love is greater than personal sacrifice.
Giving to the poor; going on mission trips; building homes for those who have lost everything; being a mentor to young people; the list goes on and on, and they are all worthy actions. They are all important. They are all wonderful; but if we do them without the love of God, we have wasted our time. It’s hard to grasp, isn’t it? All the plaques in the world for service to others mean nothing without His love to back it up.
Have you ever dreamed of winning the lottery – the jackpot? Have you discussed with your spouse, friends, or co-workers what you would do with the money? I’d end all hunger in Haiti. I’d build homes for everyone. And every child would have the opportunity to go to school. If I could win one of those big lottery jackpots, you know the ones, $400,000,000.00 – WOW! I’d make sure every child in the world had a full belly every night before they went to bed. But if my actions were not for love but for self, I have done NOTHING. If we give out of guilt or earthly acclaim or because everyone else is giving or for the praise of man, although the people who are receiving the blessings gain much, we will gain NOTHING.
Love is a tricky action – but it is an action God takes seriously.
In the first 3 verses of 1 Corinthians 13, I can summarize what Paul is trying to tell us.
Having LOVE is greater than being the must incredible preacher/speaker/writer in the world.
Having LOVE is greater than all the gifts and talents in the world.
Having LOVE is greater than any personal sacrifice you can offer the world.
When we do NOT have LOVE…we communicate NOTHING…we contribute NOTHING…we gain NOTHING.
The key take away point to Paul’s writing is – LOVE isn’t about us. It isn’t about why we do what we do. It isn’t about how we use our talents. It isn’t about what we give up. LOVE is about God.
Love starts with God because God is love. To have LOVE, we must have Him. To have Him, we have to get to know God better. When we develop a personal relationship with Him, He will allow His love to flow through us and transform our hearts supernaturally. The greatest proof of Love came to us in the form of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His hands, His feet, His side, His head carry the scars of Love’s sacrifice. The greatest act of LOVE is found at the foot of the Cross. That is LOVE made REAL.