“I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains – but if I have no love, I am nothing”.
1 Cor 13:2 GNB
We all crave something extra that we don’t have. We watch a world class golfer on television hitting the ball straight down the middle of the fairway and wish we had his skill to bang the ball. We hear an opera and wish we had a voice like those soloists. We read a book and wish we had the vast knowledge in a specific field like the author. As it is, we have to trudge along with our ordinary skills and gifts.
As a scholar and preacher Paul would have longed for the gift of oratory to hold the people he preached to spellbound. He would have wished for the vast knowledge that some other travelling teachers and speakers had. Constantly dealing with the stories of Jesus, he yearned for the superlative faith that moved mountains of which Jesus spoke. But in his deeper, sober, reflective moments, he also knew that none of those admirable and enviable gifts were what Jesus wanted for him. He knew that love was more desirable than them all – and more desirable than all of them put together. That is because love is so “fundamental, irreplaceable and determinative for our life together as Christians” (D. Prior, p229).
This love, then, is the hallmark of the fellowship of Christians. It is what brings us together, holds us together, and what grows us together. Knowledge, faith, and oratory don’t make you anything. God’s love burning in your heart, mind and soul means that you are near to the heart of God.
Lord, fill me with love.