Two days after I first began writing what God was revealing for me on love, He unveiled a bit more by the help of some friends.
My husband and I attend a small group through our church. This day we were studying on the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians, chapters 12 and 14. It would take too long and get me off focus to go into all that we were discussing, so I’ll let you do your own walking through those chapters.
What a dear friend of mine pointed out, however, was how interesting it was that the “love” chapter of the Bible—1 Corinthians 13—was sandwiched between these two other chapters devoted to teaching on spiritual gifts! The gifts we receive from God to assist us in assisting the Body of Christ—His Church.
They were purposely interrupted for a lesson on love!
I immediately thought of a peanut butter sandwich with the teaching from chapters 12 and 14 being the bread and chapter 13—love—being the glue (or peanut butter :) that holds it all together.
If someone teaches, but not in the love of Jesus, their words—though they be truth—fall flat on the heart of the listener.
If someone serves in the kitchen, but not in the love of Jesus, their actions—though appreciated—are as the works of Martha.
If someone encourages another, but not in the love of Jesus, their intent—though the words uplifting—may be more self seeking, self-glorifying.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-10, 13
As we walk in and work out of our spiritual gifts, once again, love is paramount!
There is to be no impatience with one another, no jealousy. There is no room for arrogance and seeking self in the body of Christ. We should not be keeping long accounts of wrongs we have suffered and ways we have felt offended. Our gifts assist us in the rejoicing, the bearing, the believing, the hoping and the enduring.
This is why we so desperately need an outpouring to overflowing of the perfect love of God in our lives.
Whatever your giftings, whatever mine, each is vital—yes!
But the greatest of these is love!