Maybe love has everything to do with it.
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy going or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
1 Cor 13:1-3
Without love = clanging cymbal
Without love = I am nothing
Without love = profits me nothing
The reason 1 Corinthians 13 was being discussed was because the Corinthian church was asking Paul which gifts were the most important. They, like us, wanted to "be somebody" and thought if they could figure out which spiritual gift carried the most clout, they could line out the pecking order, so to speak.
They weren't much different than we are today. We all want to be somebody. We want to be important. We want to be needed by someone, but as these verses show us, the secret ingredient isn't the gift or the ability at all, it is love.
But not love in our cheapened way of defining it, love as in God's way of defining it.
love = Greek work, agape, a noun which means: affection of benevolence, a love feast, charity
This kind of love loves because it WANTS to. It gives because it WANTS to. It does not love in order to receive. As I read in David Guzik's commentary on 1 Cor 13 this week, "It has little to do with emotion and much to do with self-denial for the sake of another."
As I pondered this love and what it means, I began to ask if I have ever really truly loved with agape love and I am not sure that I have. The closest I can say that I have been probably was the love I had for our daughters when they were tiny, before they were able to love me back, but even in that, I did want to be loved back - someday.
I also pondered this - We like to share with others what we know, it makes us feel important, makes us feel worth something, but without love, I am becoming the exact opposite of what I desire to be. In an effort to be something, someone, I am becoming NOTHING. What I think I know, who I know, my gifts, etc may make me think I am someone, but without love I am not a someone at all.
I am a no one.
Instead of something, I am nothing.
Sorry, Tina, but love definitely has something to do with it.
I also read in the commentary:
A man with faith can move great mountains; but he will set them down right in the path of somebody else - or right on somebody else - if he doesn't have love.
If I am speaking in big words, churchy words, giving the "you oughta spill", but cannot look and see the NEED of that person with kindness and a willingness to meet that need, I am nothing but racket to them. I may be able to offer words of wisdom. I may be able to exercise great faith personally and move a mountain with that faith. I can give to every charity I chose to and donate endless hours of service, but all of this has no profit without love.
So, no, I don't know if I have ever truly loved with agape love. When I think of it in terms of never expecting repayment, it really narrows the field . We naturally want someone to acknowledge our act of love toward them with a simple thank you or something of that nature. We may even start out loving without expecting a thank you, but over time, a repeated complete lack of acknowledgment from the receiver tends to make me less willing to continue to display love to them since it seems unappreciated or unwanted.
Notice I used the word, "naturally". God had to point that out to me. In my human nature I cannot love like this, but I can love like this supernaturally. And that only comes from a living relationship with Him, one where I allow Him pour in to me so that I can pour out to another, only looking to Him for acknowledgement.
In 1 Corinthians 12:31, Paul says he wants to teach them a more excellent way, then he describes love and it's effects. Love is the more excellent way. 1 John 4:16 teaches us that God is love while 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us to pursue love, so in pursuing love I am pursuing God and vice versa.
Sorry, Tina. Love has everything to do with it.
I want the more excellent way.