If there are two people in the middle of a crowd trying their hardest to whisper important messages to each other, as the speakers the size of refrigerators mercilessly blare, how likely is it that the message was conveyed? Not likely. Now picture those same whispers trying to ascend to heaven. This is God's perspective when we walk around doing seemingly important things in His name but not in love. As we operate in our purpose as parents, as leaders, and as servants it all becomes noisy nothings to God if we don't do it all in love.
1 Corinthians 13:4 is often quoted at weddings, displayed on plaques in homes, and even sown into baby blankets. "Love is patient and kind..." It's conveniently become the Hallmark verse of the bible, inspiring love stories and repairing feuding friendships. When we read this "love chapter" from the beginning it gives us a sincere look into how God perceives what we think is love. The contrast between our definition of love and God's is astounding and it's easiest to see within our own family dynamic.
"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." -1 Corinthians 13:1
So the "love chapter" actually begins by telling us consequences of the lack of love. (Not so romantic is it?) This verse speaks to the perfect facades that lead to destruction. Parents, when was the last time you allowed your children to be children and relieve yourself from the pressure of having it all together ALL THE TIME? It hurts the heart of God when we walk around acting and looking like a GAP commercial only to go home and be vicious to our children. The falseness of that outward perfection equates to a 4 year old banging on a drum set hooked to a stereo. Loud and nonsensical.
" 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." - 1 Corinthians 13:2
Ouch. So, even with the eloquent speeches of a Sunday morning sermon or the mesmerizing cadence of an apologetic professor's lecture equates to the sound of deafening silence when love doesn't accompany their gifts. Earned degrees, the climb to be honored at the pulpit is all for nothing when there is no love in the hearts of leaders. We hear moving words that increase our faith but God can't receive it because He's not in it.
" 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."
What is going on here?! So even our daily sacrifices gain nothing for our eternity when we don't love others. Father help us! How has servants of God got it into their heads that any sacrifice would be approved by God? Life is hard enough, we should make what we do count and by the word of God, nothing counts without love. It's sad to say that we can serve diligently but can't address our wrongs, that we can give our last dime to feed the hungry but, overlook how we've offended others. Serving is nothing without love.
Why is love so important to God? It was the reason that He gave His only Son (John 3:16), it was the last commandments Jesus gave (Matthew 22:37-40), and now we read it in a letter to the church of Corinth. Love is God and God is love, not by any human definition but, if God is love then surely He is the only One to rightfully define it. Parents, leaders, and servants can change the world by being in love with God, loving others, and adopting the character of God. Everything else is just noisy nothings.