Today is my birthday. Today I’m 27.
There’s something that God has been impressing on my heart lately. It’s something I’ve written about before, but I want to talk about it again. This is something that we all need to learn and put into practice everyday of our lives.
I want to talk about love. Not loving your spouse or the love God has for us, but the love that we show to others. I think my birthday is a good time to talk about it.
1 Corinthians 13 is the love chapter, but chapter 12 is where it really starts. 1 Corinthians 12 talks all about the Gifts of the Spirit. These gifts are given by God though the Holy Spirit so that every Christian can move in power the same way Jesus did while He was on earth. The last verse of chapter 12 really tells a big story.
But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.
1 Corinthians 12:31
Paul is saying that it’s important to desire the Gifts of the Spirit. Earnestly desire them! But he’s saying that there is something even better than these gifts.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 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. 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 13:1-3
Paul, someone who moved in the Gifts of the Spirit more than anybody else in history says that if we perform miracles, signs and wonders but we don’t do it in love, then it doesn’t mean anything.
In verses 8-12, Paul describes the difference between how we live now, and how we will live in heaven. He says that there will be no need for prophecies or miracles or any of the Gifts of the Spirit. He’s not saying that we shouldn’t practice them, in fact it’s quite the opposite, but he does say that,
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Love is the greatest thing. Greater than miracles, greater than wonders, greater than tongues, even greater than faith and hope. Love is where God really shows His power on earth. A miraculous healing might restore a man’s body, but love can restore his soul.
This is exactly why almost every hospital in the world can be traced back to Christian roots. This is why most food pantries and homeless shelters are operated by churches and Christian organizations. You don’t find atheist groups sending Christmas gifts to poor children around the world, do you?
So here’s the kicker, how are you showing love? I’m not talking about love for your family or towards God, I’m talking about showing love towards the people who need it most.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a food pantry. Buy Christmas gifts and coats for poor children. Give a homeless person some food or maybe a sleeping bag. Bring diapers to your local pregnancy center. Take a couple who can’t afford it to lunch. Hang out with a teenager who isn’t doing good. Buy a friend some shoes. (I have a hard time finding shoes that fit. A few times friends have bought me shoes and it has meant more to me than they will ever know. Once an old employer of mine drove me all over town trying to find me a pair of shoes that fit.) Do you ever donate old stuff to Goodwill? Give it to the Salvation Army instead. They’re a Christian organization that will do more to help others with that stuff than Goodwill can.
There’s a lot of simple ways to show love for others, but the most important thing you can do is be open to the Holy Spirit to show you who to love and how. That’s when you start to find yourself in situations where you do exactly what a person needs exactly when they need it.
This year as a birthday gift to me, I want you to show God’s love to others. Go and find a way to really love someone and start to open yourself to the Spirit’s leading to show His love everyday.
Or just get me a gift card. I like gift cards too.