To Love – Our True Calling
[This post is dedicated to my friends Frank and Carol Lanthier from Ontario, Canada who have not only dedicated their lives to serving the Lord, but have constantly maintained a pure heart throughout]
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
All the Christian blogs in the world combined could hardly do justice to these words, how much less a mere post as this! But the brightness of a diamond is the result of a million different flashes of light coming off of it.
Someone called me recently and said, “Could you look up Ezekiel chapter 43, I want us to discuss about the prophecy there, whether it has been fulfilled or not.” The man comes from a denomination where the word ‘prophecy’ is mentioned in every second sentence.
I am not very much into prophecy, and I knew I probably would have nothing to contribute. I knew that at best our ‘discussion’ would end in disputations, etc. Things like prophecy are important, of course, but they are also potential minefields, where someone can easily lose their soul trying to crack the prophecy code.
So I told the brother, “I would rather we discussed about love!”
Jesus said that in the Kingdom of God, many that are first shall be last, and many that are last will be first. That means that with God, things are not the way we see them in the natural. There are things that appear very important with us, but which are not so with God.
“1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
We could have and we could be all the things mentioned here, but if we are not walking in love, we are nothing in God’s sight. In today’s world especially, where the world is increasingly pressing itself to the fore, it is the easiest thing for God’s people to miss it. The people who ‘do’ things appear to be the most spiritual. In today’s Church setting, for example, there is a tendency to idolize so-called great men (and women) of God. The men of great faith, with the strong charisma that comes with this type of ministry, are particularly prone to this idol-worship. So are church leaders, worship leaders, gospel artists – and sometimes even we bloggers.
The flesh loves to boast in so many things: knowledge, spiritual insight, spiritual gifts, its ability to ‘do’ things (like giving), etc. These things are needful in God’s Kingdom, but they are not the rule with which the Lord measures us.
God measures us through our ability to love. And what is love?
Love is maintaining a pure heart. I believe that is the best expression of love that I can find in the Bible. I believe that a pure heart is what encompasses holiness, for our God is a holy God. It is not ‘doing’ or having things, even things of the Spirit. This world is a place where our hearts are tried 24/7. Therefore the challenge to love is the playground for the believer.
Love is the place where you can show who you truly are. It is the place where you can lose your life. It is the place where you are beaten and humbled by God (through circumstances) until you drop all your pride and discover and rejoice in the fact that you are nothing. If you are walking in love, you will constantly discover that you are not giving of your life as much as you think you are. Love is the place that of real sacrifice. And there are more than enough situations every day to exercise this love.
It is good to have prophecy and spiritual knowledge. These are deeply spiritual things. But it is far much better to walk in love, to take up our cross and follow Christ.
I believe there are people who do not even know the Bible, people who cannot read (or who cannot afford) a Bible. And yet these people know and walk in love because they are able to surrender to the Holy Spirit in them.
On the other hand, there are people who are very knowledgeable in spiritual matters, but who are unable to walk in love.
The greatest in the Kingdom of God is the man or woman who can walk in the kind of love that is stated in these scriptures. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit in us can lead us to walk victoriously on that road of the cross.
[Below: Frank and Carol Lanthier]