The best use of life is Love.

The best expression of Love is time.

The Best time to Love is now.

Rick Warren

You will be happy to hear that I gave my wife a personalized Valentines card and pretty sparkly red rose. However nice a thought those gifts are they would mean nothing if I didn’t actually love her. So they are just symbols of my love for her and however commercialized you think Valentine’s Day is, I still think that is important to show love to our parents, families, friends and spouses every day.

The Apostle shares some insights on love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

  1. No Love = A Noisy Outcome

If I speak in the Tongues of men or of angels –

This expression covers any type of speech whether it is a heavenly language or an earthly language.

Anyone who is taken up with speaking without doing so in love has become nothing more than a sound.

Imagine I just kept hitting a cymbal in the same place over and over again; it wouldn’t sound very pretty would it.

The apostle Paul uses the example of a resounding Gong. In the original context however a resounding Gong was actually a resounding Bronze. The people of Corinth would create many items out of Bronze material and were well known for their craftsmanship. The item Paul could have been talking about was in fact a Bronze Vase which was used as a resonator in some theaters. The Bronze Vase was most likely used to amplify the sound.

The best speech of earth or heaven, without love, is just a noise

2. No Love = I am nothing

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing

Paul is speaking here about possessing the gift of prophecy and the ability to fathom and understand great mysteries. These gifts would have been sought after by many. I mean who in their right mind wouldn’t want to step out and give a prophecy just like Isaiah and the other prophets of old. I can be pretty certain that no-one would want to turn the ability to be wise like Solomon and to understand things with great knowledge.

The people of Corinth would love to step out in great faith just like Moses as he stepped out into the Red Sea.

Exodus 14:21-22

New International Version
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
Paul is also alluding to the teachings of Jesus when he mentions about faith that can move mountains.

Mark 11:23

New International Version
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.

So he is effectively saying if I can be like the prophets of old, King Solomon the wise or a person of great faith but do not have Love in exercising these incredible gifts then I am nothing.

Wow,so it is not our gifts or abilities that define us but the measure of love that we operate in which matters.

3. No Love = I gain nothing

 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Paul again is referring to scripture which he knows so well of course.

Matthew 19:21

New International Version
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Jesus is challenging a young man who has kept the Ten Commandments but has great wealth which is a hindrance to following Jesus.

Paul also speaks about giving over my body to hardship or in other translations to the flames that I may boast in my faith. He was most likely referring to the Book of Daniel and the 3 Israelite’s who stood up to king Nebuchadnezzar and were delivered from the fiery furnace beacuse of their faith.

Paul sets out these two examples to show that great acts of generosity and great faith not matter how much we suffer does not mean that we gain anything if we do not step out in these great deeds in love.

So what can we learn from these 3 verses?

We learn that Love should be the driving force behind all that we say and do.

It is important that we act in love in all things because without love we become nothing more than a noise, we becoming nothing and we gain nothing.

How do we become full of love?

By spending time with our God who is love.

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”

Our Daily Bread, February 14.

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