Wedding season, as it is known in a pastor’s world, is coming to an end. All over the country, countless people walked the isle and said the vows. No doubt, many wedding services included these familiar words:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and have all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Cor. 1:1-3)
Let that sink in. Without love I am a noisy gong or clanging symbol. I am nothing. I gain nothing. These words are meant to be shocking reminds and shockingly motivating. They remind us of the emptiness of lovelessness. Yet they also call us. They call us to add value by acting in love. The late great Jerry Bridges captures this thought
Write down, either in your imagination or on a sheet of paper, a row of zeros. Keep adding zeros until you have filled a whole line on the page. What do they add up to? Exactly nothing! Even if you were to write a thousand of them, they would still be nothing. But put a positive number in front of them and immediately they have value. This is the way it is with our gifts and faith and zeal. They are zeroes on the page. Without love, they count for nothing. But put love in front of them and immediately they have value. And just as the number two gives more value to a row of zeros than then number one does, so more and more love can add exponentially greater value to our gifts (quoted in Strauch, Leading with Love, 15-16).”
Because of this truth, Alexander Strauch is right when he says, “Love is to be our chief motivation for serving others (Leading with Love, 30).” So, let’s commit ourselves to do all sorts of good things. But let’s not miss the main thing, being animated with Christ’s love. That is, let’s be committed to adding value to everything we do by doing everything we do with love.