Paul came to what many would call the climax of his letter to the Corinthians. It was the discussion to end all questions about Life, sacrifice and talent. It reframed the entire discussion of faith into one single word. Love. Paul starts the discussion with what love is not–1. Love is not saying the right words or teaching the right doctrines–because to do so without love is both noisy and annoying. 2. Speaking the truth and foretelling the mystery of life is not love; to do so without love is worth nothing. 3. Personal sacrifice in deed or death is not love, because making a sacrifice without love gains one nothing.
Paul then addresses what love is–it is patient, it is kind, it is humble, selfless, graceful. It does not act brash, rude, boastful nor does it snicker at the sins and crimes of others. Love rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, endures all things, it is always hopeful and always positive about others. Love is quite simply what we are all about.
When operating out of love the “religious activities” naturally occur. Amazingly, they are more beautiful, helpful and meaningful when they come from the love we have for God and for one another. As in everything else in Christianity God looks at our hearts, not our deeds. If our heart is right, the deeds happen. But using the deeds as a way to gain approval, when done without love is a distorted mess. That is the heart of love and that is the heart of ministry.
God Bless You
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 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. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.