“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” — 1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV84)
Paul already let us know that without love, a faith that can move mountains and a wisdom that discerns the truths of mysteries is worthless. In our verse for today, Paul tells us that our actions don’t mean anything if they aren’t accompanied by love. Even if our actions are self-sacrificing, like giving to the poor and martyring ourselves for the cause, they mean nothing if they are not rooted in love. With all of this Paul wanted us to know that without the right motivation, our lives will lack definition. You see, God sees beyond the outward appearance of our actions. He sees the motivation of our hearts. He knows the real reason why we do what we do. It is His desire that our actions are motivated by the same love that His actions are motivated by.
We gain nothing if love is absent from our actions. We gain everything if it’s present. What do we gain? We gain a close relationship with the God who loves us. Could there be a greater blessing than to know that the motivator of our hearts (love) is the same thing that motivates God’s heart? Our faith and life must begin at the foot of Jesus’ cross. It is there that we see how much God loves us and how far He was willing to go to show us. May all of our works be acts of gratitude for what God has done for us.