1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
― 1 Corinthians 13:1-4 (ESV) ―
Look at the list of amazing ministry “successes” listed above.
- Speaking in the tongues of men and of angels (“tongues of angels” is a different blog for a different time 🙂 )
- Having prophetic powers.
- Having the ability to understand all mysteries and all knowledge.
- Having faith that can move mountains.
- Giving away everything that you have.
- Becoming a martyr for the faith.
This is such a powerful list of incredible successes that are actually a list of failures if we miss out on the one thing that is required: love.
So as we think through this we must come to the correct conclusion: the priority of all things that we do on behalf and with Jesus is love. But love for what? Who is it that God is calling us to love first and most?
That’s right. I know for some you thought, “We must first and foremost love others.” But that’s not true. Our first love is not supposed to be anyone but Jesus first. And where did I come up with this? Jesus.
One day Jesus was asked by an expert in the law about which commandment was the most important commandment. And Jesus answered him with these words:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. ― Matthew 22:37 (ESV)
“But Brian, he does mention that the second would be like it and that we are supposed to love our neighbors like we love ourselves.”
And you are so right. But notice that Jesus said the GREAT and FIRST commandment is to love God with everything. That’s the priority. Everything else flows out of our love for God. To love others more than we love Jesus is to break the great and first commandment while at the same time short-changing our love of others because we won’t love them as completely as Jesus does without Jesus loving them through us. We are first and foremost invited to love Jesus with everything.
So as we continue to move forward in seeing people come to surrender to Jesus, to see people get baptized, to be a community of passionate worshippers of Jesus, etc…, let’s not put aside the first thing that we committed to this year: being a community that truly and passionately loves Jesus.
So let’s spend time with Jesus. Let’s sit down in prayer and tell him what’s going on while listening to what he might say. Let’s open the Bible and hear him speak to us, growing more and more in love with our Savior who is wild about us.
Love you more than you know,