Life Without Love is Zero
Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” — 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Paul was an incredibly gifted man. He had intelligence that still makes scholars scratch their heads. He had an eloquence that allowed him to speak effectively to both kings and prisoners. Through his gift of prophecy, Paul could declare God’s truth in a powerful, life-changing way. His faith was legendary. Paul was Billy Graham with the intellect of Aristotle and the eloquence of Shakespeare. Yet through all of his giftings and talents, Paul declared that they were all worthless apart from love.
Paul is saying that life without love is zero, worthless, and nothing. You can pile up all the acts of kindness, all the education, all the spiritual gifts, and all the noble works that you like. Without love, it still equals zero. You can be smart, talented, strong, educated, multi-lingual, rich and famous but without love it still equals nothing.
All of life needs to be evaluated on the basis of love. Do you use your education for the purpose of love or to get ahead in life? Do you use your talent to impress or to love others? Do you serve in your church because you have to or because you love the people you serve? Do you love people at your office or your school or your social club? Is your money used primarily for personal pleasures or to demonstrate love? There is nothing wrong with using the money for personal pleasures, but all of Scripture points to using your blessings to bless others.
If you are incredibly gifted in some area – business, teaching, parenting, organizing, fundraising, etc. – use those talents for the glory of God and love for your neighbors. Otherwise, you are just a clanging cymbal that profits nothing. But loving others will result in a great spiritual profit for your life.
Questions for Thought:
- What does talent without love look like? What, then, does talent soaked in love look like?
- How can you use your best talent in new and different ways that would allow you to love others?
God’s Mission, Your Mission
The world expects you to use your talents in business, teaching, parenting, organizing, and/or fundraising to your gain. You are expected to use that degree to make more money. You are expected to use your skill in teaching and organizing to advance up the ladder and have people work for you. You are even expected to use what you have learned in parenting to give your child every added advantage. The shocking thing is when you use your skill or talent to bless others with nothing to gain.
It is shocking when a carpenter uses his or her tools, time, and talent to build a new house for an unknown person. It is shocking when a business quietly gives toward a cause. It is shocking when a talented parent spends time training other parents just out of love. Think of how you can surprise someone with your talent. If you don’t know what your talent is, ask a friend. Then use it with love.