Bible Society of South Africa
Carina Francke

Praise him – Day 20

One thing is lacking (2)

Bible text(s)


1I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell. 2I 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. 3I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burnt — but if I have no love, this does me no good.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3GNBOpen in Bible reader

If you can talk to someone in his own language, you get closer to that person. Unfortunately, there is one factor that – if it is missing – will hamper meaningful communication and that is the language of the heart: love. Even if someone speaks the languages of human beings and even of angels but he has no love, even his wisest words will not be taken seriously. For the hearer they are only words, sounds that will be blown away by the wind. 1 Corinthians 13:1 describes someone without love as “a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal”.

Should anyone think that he is very special and should be highly regarded because he has the gift of prophecy, but he is unloving, then he must admit to himself: “I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). Note that it is neither the words nor their meaning that is nothing, but the speaker. Believers, therefore, have a great responsibility to be saturated in God’s love if they want to be a positive influence on the lives of others, otherwise they must admit: “I am nothing”.

To unravel secrets and be a walking encyclopaedia brim-full of knowledge and to have so much faith that one can move mountains can only be of value if one also has love and shares it with others. Without love everything else means nothing, and one can just as well admit: “I am nothing!”

To give away possessions or to pull out all stops to benefit someone else, usually leads to the recipient holding his benefactor in much esteem. Well intentioned, but the benefactor must always examine himself and ask whether his good deeds are really fuelled by his love for others. If not, he must know: “I gain nothing.”

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, the writer touches on every facet of human existence: His mouth (languages), his intellect (knowledge, secrets), spirit (faith, prophecy), body and possessions. Without mincing matters he declares hereby that every facet of a person’s life forms the whole and no part can effectively function without the love of God in one’s life.

Why so much emphasis on love? Our Creator is love, every ounce of his being is love, and all who are dependent on him for their existence, are supported by his love. How can people who are created in his image try to practise anything at all without his gifts? Love is the force that generates life, and you and I are the conductors thereof.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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