Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1
Paul writes that we can have the most eloquent speech imaginable, but if we don’t have love, it will sound like clanging cymbals. We can have the faith to move mountains, but without love we may miss the significance of life. We can give to others and sacrifice our very lives, but without love, it is futile. Those are strong words!
I think people get hung up sometimes doing “the work of God.” They spend their time “doing” for the church, taking part in many ministeries and believe they are accomplishing God’s work. But, no matter how many church activities we are in, without love for others, we fall short of who God has created us to be. Paul understood this and wanted to make it plain to everyone: If you don’t serve with love, you are just making a loud noise.
I remember a dream that I had a few years ago. In that dream, I was standing behind a stage curtain and was expected to deliver an hour-long speech on love. I was frantic. I kept making excuses to the stage manager: I can’t talk that long on any subject! I don’t know enough about love to be speaking about it! I don’t have any notes to go by! Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and I knew immediately that it was the hand of God. He said to me, “You have it all inside of you already. I already prepared you to talk about love. You don’t need any notes…it’s INSIDE of you! Just start talking and I will do the rest.”
As my dream ended, I was walking to the stage. I still didn’t know what I was going to say, but I knew that God would help me find the answers deep inside of me. Then I woke up. I immediately understood the dream, that above everything else, God wanted me to search inside my soul for the love that passeth all understanding. I try to walk that path every day.