“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love… I am nothing.” (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
After a devastating battle during the First World War, Canadian army surgeon John McCrae composed one of the greatest war poems. In it he gave voice to thousands of soldiers who lay dead, summing up their lives on earth with one line:
“Loved and were loved, but now we lie in Flanders Fields.”
When we come to the end of our lives, we’ll find one of our most important priorities will be those we love, and those who love us. But we should not wait to focus our priorities. The Apostle Paul declared the agape love of God to be the number one priority of spiritual people: “…and the greatest of these is love.”
A PARAPHRASE APPLICATION:
If we speak with great eloquence and even in tongues, but without love, we’re just a lot of noise. If we have all knowledge to understand all the Greek mysteries, the gift to speak as prophets, and enough faith to move mountains, unless we love as we do all these things, we are nothing. If we give all our money to feed the poor, and our bodies to be burned at the stake as martyrs, if we give and die without love, it profits us nothing.
Nothing we are, nothing we ever become, nothing we have, and nothing we ever will have in the way of natural and spiritual gifts should ever move ahead of love as our first priority. Nothing we do, or ever will do as an expression of our faith, our gifts, our knowledge, or our generous, charitable, unconditionally-surrendered heart is worthy of comparison, or can replace love as we live out our personal priorities in this world.
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love