It was just another Sunday and we were playing one of countless videos for the Lottie Moon offering (at least I think that’s what it was). Maybe it was a video about Loving Muslims, I can’t remember. But it caught my attention. Not the video. I have no idea what it was about. One of the missionaries is what caught my eye; or rather my heart.
I have no way of actually knowing what was going on in his heart at the time, but from all appearances it seemed as if he was a man that deeply loved the Lord and loved people. You could see it in the glimmer in his eyes. It wasn’t that he was “loving people” because that’s what he was supposed to do. No, I think he really loved these people, because he’s spent some serious time with Jesus.
The missionary was laughing and joyously interacting with people of whom he probably only shared a handful of words. Words didn’t matter. Love did. And it was their shared smiles that the Lord used to break my crusty heart and reopen it towards love.
In a whirlwind as my eyes fixated on the missionaries smiling face, the Lord spoke to my heart saying, “you don’t love people”, while simultaneously drawing my attention to the first three verses of 1 Corinthians 13.
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.
Reading it in the Message really drove the point home:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love
That means all of the work I put into being a good writer…bankrupt without love.
All of my effort at honing my pastoral skills…bankrupt without love.
Books. Knowledge. Seminary education. Study of church history…bankrupt without love.
Bankrupt without love.
Jesus, help me love.