|Rose, Martha and Anis - Some of the dear island students whom I love.|
I had read the chapter numerous times and even memorized it a long time ago, so I didn't really expect to find something "new."
But God's Word, which is living and active, pricked my heart - in the deepest part.
There is a question I frequently mull over - "How can I be most effective here?" Then I add other musings - "Is what I am doing making a difference?" "Is doing this or that the best way to reach this group of people?"
Such questions had been making circuits in my brain when I came to the "Love Chapter" in my Bible reading. Yes, I Corinthians 13, consists of only 13 verses, but it is a passage with incredible depth and truth.
"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." (vs. 1-3)
Truthfully, sometimes I feel like I am sacrificing a lot being here - 1000s of miles from my dear family and friends, possible missed chances on meeting the "Right One," comforts and pleasures of my home culture, worshiping in my own language, avoiding daily contact with mosquitoes, innumerable flying insects and other pests, etc., etc.
Yet, though I make "sacrifices" even as great as giving up my body and possessions - without love, I gain nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Ouch.
And if I have great faith and can pray for healing and restoration for others, but do not exhibit love, I am nothing. There's that word again. Ouch.
Even if I have remarkable and admirable spiritual gifts, such as studying and teaching the Word of God in an effective and memorable way, but I am not walking in love, I am nothing. Gulp.
It was as if God was reminding me that effectiveness in ministry or even in living the Christian life is as simple as walking in love.
"If I want to know how I can be more effective in my life, work, ministry, relationships, I need only ask, 'How am I showing God's love?'" I jotted down those words after meditating on this chapter.
"If I am failing to show love, then I am not being effective. I either need to change what I am doing or how I am doing it...I need to let two questions guide me: 'Why am I doing this? How I am doing this?'"
The chapter concludes with these remarkable words:
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (vs. 13)
Wow, love is listed even above faith! What is done in love will endure - forever. What is not done in love will die, fade away, be burned, be forgotten. It will not last.
Do you want to make sure that what you are involved in will endure forever? Bathe it, submerge it, infuse it with love - love for God and love for others.
|Anis and I. Love this girl!|
Even Jesus summed up all of the law and the prophets with those two simple commands. Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
We can complicate life. We can complicate ministry. We can complicate relationships. We can complicate a lot of things, yet God wants to us to keep it simple - Love Me, love others.