If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1 CEV
Recently I reached a milestone in my life. I have now lived half a century! And, at absolutely no cost to you–’cause that’s just the kind of person I am–I’m going to let you in on a little something I have learned over the years–by personal experience I might add.
You can go to church, know the Bible inside and out, tithe, give money to help the poor, actually help the poor through acts of service, have Spiritual gifts such as Healing, Miracles, Word of knowledge, Wisdom and Prophecy to name a few, have a bunch of Faith, teach Sunday School, sing in the choir and even be a minister of the Gospel BUT still be an unloving person. Don’t just take my word for it–check this out:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
The Apostle Paul was writing this to the Corinthian Church. We gather from his letter to them that they were very spiritually gifted. However, they were comparing whose spiritual gifts were greater or better than the others in order to establish some sort of superiority! There was also division, envy, selfishness, impatience with one another AND they were even suing each other! Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, must have had similar experiences for him to be quoted as saying, “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
I can so relate! I have this friend–someone super-duper close to me–who can even be right in the middle of something really spiritual and then think, do or say something so surprisingly unloving!
Family arguments on the way to or from church–CLANG! Gossip, cleverly disguised as prayer requests–CLANG, CLANG! Critiquing church leaders, their spouses or family–CLANG, CLANG, CLANG WENT THE TROLLEY!(or in this case cymbal) This is what we do to our own. What about those who disagree with us philosophically, politically or morally?
As you get older, you become more introspective. You wonder what your life’s legacy will be. At the end of my life, will every gifting I possess, every accomplishment I have achieved and every act of ministry count for nothing? Just a clanging cymbal?
When I was a child, our family had one of the most obnoxious toys ever made. (See featured photo.) I defy any reader to show me a more annoying toy! A few years before my mother passed away, she told me I could have it. To me it was nostalgic and brought back a lot of childhood memories spent with it–mostly ones of terror–but I took it home anyway. My husband and children are not at all fans of said toy and it mysteriously makes its way to the attic. I have to continually go up to the attic and bring it down into the house. I know it’s weird but I want it with me always! It provokes me to remember what we are like if we do not walk in love. (A little bit of therapeutic conditioning I think!)
When I am impatient, unkind and envious, those monkey eyes are glaring. When I dishonor others, am prideful or selfish those teeth haunt me. When I am easily angered, keep a mental list of how others have wronged me or think the worst of others rather than think the best, the repeated clanking sends chills up my spine! (See 1 Corinthians 13:5-7)
Now, because I don’t want any of you readers to be unloving by envying me (1 Corinthians 13:4) because I possess this clanging monkey and you do not, I have lovingly:), created this little video for you to download and take with you where ever you go!
Now, thanks to this video, you too can be reminded to live a life of love–in case you are like me and forget at times.
Dear Heavenly Father, you said the greatest commandment is to love you with all our heart, soul and mind. And that the second is like it–to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Mark 12:29,30) We acknowledge that our hearts can be deceitful. (Jeremiah 17:9) We repent of our unloving ways and humbly ask that you help us walk in love that you may be glorified and that many will come to know the truth of your gospel by our love. LH
Featured Photo SOURCE
(Many of the posts on this website are accompanied by a Bible Study such as the one below. The study is broken up into 5 days and is designed to take you no more than 10 minutes each day. For a printable copy of this post’s Bible study, CLICK HERE.)
“Just Say Know” Bible Study
1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most important, popular and memorized chapters about love. However, the Bible has a lot more to say about it.
Day 1 Read John 3:16; John 15:13; Romans 5:7-8, 1 John 3:16; Romans 8:35-39
Jesus is the greatest example of love.
- According to these passages, what is the greatest act of love?
- What attributes of God’s love are evident in the verses from Romans chapters 5 and 8?
Day 2 Read Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; John 15:11-12, 17; Deuteronomy 6:5
Because of the example Christ has left us, we are to love Him and all others.
- What is the greatest commandment?
- What is the second greatest commandment?
- Based on these passages, if we want to love and serve God, is loving others an option?
- Do you think you can obey the second commandment without obeying the first? Why or why not?
Day 3 Read John 13:34-35, 1 John 4:7-12, 19-21; Deuteronomy 7:9; John 14:15, 21, 23-24; 1 John 5:3
Love is the defining characteristic of a Christian but is misunderstood by many in today’s culture.
- According to the verses in John 13, how will everyone, believers and non believers know we belong to Christ?
- How do we know God lives in us? Can we hate someone and still love God?
- According to verses in the above scriptures, how do we show our love for God?
- Can we love God and not follow his commandments? Have you ever been called “unloving” by others because you followed God’s commandments and did not endorse sin?
Day 4 Read Luke 10:25-37; Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 13:8-10; Colossians 3:12-14
Sometimes I think we get confused about who and how should we love.
- Who is our neighbor? Are the verses in Matthew 5 hard for you to follow?
- What will we always owe everyone? How does this fulfill the law?
- How do you “clothe” yourself with compassion and “put” on love?
Day 5 Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:13-26
We know that we are commanded to love one another but sometimes we aren’t sure exactly what that looks like.
- List all the attributes listed in 1 Corinthians 13. Which of these attributes are hardest for you to live?
- According to Galatians 5, what is the opposite of serving other humbly in love?
- When we follow one we get the acts of the flesh and the other, the Fruit of the Spirit. List both and compare them.