If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
That is the second application. We must try, to the degree we can, to do what we do for God for the right reasons. For most of us, this means repenting of our self-focused, when it’s convenient for me, when I am acknowledged, you better say thank you, I want my name in the bulletin, ego strokes from the leadership, only high-visibility service that makes me look good, approach to service for God. Why are we here? Why do we serve God? Why do we do what we do? In the final analysis, it is not what we do but why we do it that matters to God. We all need to examine our hearts. Perhaps ask others what they perceive. This is a big deal for all of us, we will all give an account for what we do with our life for Christ. What’s the criteria? Why did we do it and who did we do it for? Was it for me or for God, self love or selfless?
The cross of Jesus puts all our service and sacrifice and motivations in their proper perspective.
This past week I was at my physical therapist. Did you know I had knee surgery two weeks ago? I don’t mind receiving a little pity, a little doting, and I am really loving the handicap parking pass they gave me. I’ve had surgery. Woe is me! This week I go into the waiting area of the therapist and there is a young man sitting there. Nice guy. He’s in shorts and I look at his leg. He has a foot or two long scar. Protruding from his leg are multiple steel rods connected to a device that surrounds his leg. It looked like Frankenstein’s leg. I asked him, what surgery did you have? Summarizing what he said, “I was born with bowed legs. They basically broke my leg apart so they could put it back together straight…I had the surgery 9 months ago and I can’t wait to have these rods taken out of my leg.” Hmmm…I watched as it took it great effort and discomfort for him to move his leg at all. I was riding the stationary bike and watched as he did his therapy. It’s been 9 months. I can’t wait to have these rods taken out of my leg…Suddenly, my surgery didn’t seem like such a big deal, not compared to his.
Whenever we think that maybe, just maybe, we have a little spiritual something to boast about. Look at me. I am a great speaker. I am a prophet. I know everything. I move mountains. I sold everything and gave it to the poor. I suffered greatly. Even the smallest consideration of what Christ did for us shows our service for what it is, small in comparison. The Son of God, without any obligation and not based on our lovability, left heaven and became a man. Lived in weakness on earth. Willingly gave everything for us and to us on the cross. God died for you. One song we sing has the following lyrics: such a tiny offering compared to Calvary, nevertheless I lay it at His feet.
Perfect love is a person; it is Jesus. When we receive His love and salvation by faith, now we have the spiritual capacity to love like He did. With agape love, anything, even the smallest thing, done for the right reason is greatness in the eyes of God. He loves it.
Anything – Love = Nothing. Anything + Love = Greatness in the eyes of God. Love is what makes the difference.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2010 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.