Love Fest ~ Nothings

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.  So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I am bankrupt without love.         1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (MSG)

The words “I am nothing” in the verses above scare me.  My soul shutters in deep places at the thought of truly being a bankrupt “nothing”.  I’ve heard ‘nothings’ speak and sometimes preach.  I’ve felt their hands pray and watched them perform.  On the receiving end of these exchanges it reeks of pretense and from that I bolt (and hide).  But God forbid I am on the giving end of nothing.

I have also heard human eloquence speak rich with love.  Those are the words that penetrate deep within my soul and bring life.  It’s as if the message carried within the context of love brings power.  The influence of that power is endless, there is freedom, redemption, breakthrough, encouragement, healing, and affirmation– just to name a few.  The difference between the bankrupt nothing and the message of freedom and redemption is love.

What is the ‘love’ that Paul is talking about here in Corinthians?  {ok, let me confess, I am kinda becoming a Bible nerd… and have discovered some super fun study tools.}  I started my search in Mounce’s Expository Dictionary* and it states:

“It is a godly compulsion (2 Cor. 5:14) which brings us to a point where the world no longer sees us, but Christ in us.  This idea prompted the translators of the KJV to translate ‘agape’ as ‘charity’.  (1 Cor. 13) Derived from the Latin word, caritas, charity is characterized as an out showing of God’s love and benevolence towards humanity.“

Merriam-Webster defines Charity, well in ways you’d expect, but down at the bottom of the list there is this:  lenient judgment of others.

And Benevolence: disposition to do good.

So if I speak with human eloquence but I don’t show benevolence towards the grouchy lady at the grocery store… then I am nothing.   If I write of God’s word with power and clarity but I short change the waitress with a rude remark… then I am nothing.  If I pray for the miraculous and can testify to its truth but I berate my spouse and children… then I am nothing.

If I dream of having an impact to encourage people and build them up to be all that God has destined them to be but I secretly criticize others….

Then I am nothing.

The power of the gift or talent is lost in the lack of love.  It is utter devastation when mighty social icons (be it in political spheres or pop culture) fall after moments of venomous words, inhumanity or cold-heartedness.  It is pure heartbreak when we fall to the same moments.

Noise

Oh Lord,   
I bow in humbleness before you today.  Let my heart not grow cold.  Hold me back from the pitfalls of criticism, cynicism, bitterness and spite.  Forgive me if I have dulled the power of the talents and gifts you’ve given me through any of those pitfalls.  Stop me, Lord,  from clanging like a cymbal or from being static reverb.  Penetrate my heart with the power of your love; may it keep me firmly planted in your truth and may your Holy Spirit take residence in my life.  Influence me to be an out-showing, a display, of your love. Use my gifts and talents to demonstrate your glory. 
In Your Mighty Name,
Amen.

*Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old &New Testament Words, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.

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One Comment on “Love Fest ~ Nothings

  1. I don’t run up and down the street evangelizing or try to convert someone on the plane, but my hope is that everyone I come in contact with sees Christ in me. Love, G.G.

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