Not long ago our study centered around the reading and application of 1 Corinthians 13, aptly called "The Love Chapter" of the Bible. I issued the challenge for you to read the short chapter from your favorite translation and from several other translations and see how God would speak to you about your life of loving God and loving others.
Today I wish to call to you attention the first three verses of that chapter and let you see how vital love is to the Christian life. Here are the verses again from the New Living Translation.
Here are some things to think about. If you and I could speak all languages of this world and even the language of the angels, we would be nothing if we didn't have love. If we possessed the gift of prophecy, understanding all of God's secrets and knowledge, we would be nothing if we did not possess love. If we had the faith that was strong enough to move mountains, we would still be nothing if we didn't love others. And even if we gave everything to the poor and even sacrificed for them physically, we would be nothing if we didn't love them.
Let's bundle them all together and see we can come up with some successful way to rise above "being nothing." Think with me here. Do you know anyone that can speak all those languages, and has the gift of prophecy, and has mountain-moving faith, and gives everything they have to the poor, even at the expense of their own bodies? I can't think of anyone that has all those qualities but perhaps you know someone that does. Wouldn't that be a blessing to the church and to the work of God in the world today to have all those attributes rolled into a single life?
If God had someone like that on his side, Satan would surely be defeated daily! Faith would be demonstrated constantly. The knowledge of God could be shared abundantly. The poor would no longer suffer. Such a gifted and talented person would be a boost to any church or community.
But wait. God says something different from our assessment. God says the person that possesses all those qualities is nothing and gains nothing if they don't love others. Correct me if I am wrong, but the picture I get here is God telling me, before I say anything, believe anything, or do anything for him, I need to be loving toward others. All my efforts are nothing, if I don't have love.
Surprising as it may seem, the very next verse in the Bible, after "The Love Chapter," is , "Let love be your highest goal." Those are good words to apply.