If . . .
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 90:1-10 | Esther 8:1-10:3 | 1 Cor. 12:27-13:13 | Prov. 21:23-24
Today’s Scripture Focus: 1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV).
Love is the glue that holds the body of Christ together despite the differences of our background, beliefs or experiences. Often people get “bent out of shape” regarding spiritual gifts. Love enables us to work together and learn from each other. Some in the body bring discernment to extremes; others help bring openness to the true working of God. As we love each other, we learn from each other. Gifts are given to build up the body, not to tear it apart. As we serve in love, that is exactly what happens.
Love is also the necessary motivation for using spiritual gifts. If we are motivated out of pride or insecurity (another form of pride–seeking attention), we lift up ourselves rather than Jesus. If we are focused on ourselves rather than on serving those we minister to in love, our service will bear no lasting fruit.
Of course, the principles of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, apply in the context of any relationship and this text is rightly read at weddings where it is applied in marriage. Yet I am always struck that in its original context, Paul was speaking of love in the church. The topic under discussion when Paul penned these words was the issue of the use of spiritual gifts.
Until Jesus comes, we have much to do. That work needs to be done in the power and gifts of the Spirit. As we seek for His fullness, motivated by love, we will be the kind of stewards who will hear, “well done” when we see him face to face.
Father, fill my heart with love so that I might serve you well. Fill me with your Spirit and stir up the gifts within me. Help me to serve in humility as I look to you for strength. Amen.