Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
What's your sound? No, not what's your sign? What's your sound? The one that sends shivers up your spine. It might be fingernails on a blackboard. Wait, does anyone even use a blackboard anymore? Not to worry. I have more than one sound that makes me cringe. For example, the loud warning that sounds from the TV which signals the announcement concerning a bad storm. Although the sudden and unpleasant noise makes me jump, at least there is a purpose for it. Important information that might save lives is forthcoming. So, what's my sound? The sound that really unnerves me, and it doesn't take long, comes right out of the radio. It isn't the static that is present when there is a storm in the area. No, it is a loud buzzing that frequently interrupts our listening. Some kind of interference, and it serves no purpose at all. It is simply noisy and irritating. Perhaps, like the noisy gong and clanging cymbal Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 13:1?
Oh, is that how we sound if we use the precious gifts God gives us when we aren't walking in love? Could it be that the beauty of the actions or words we share are obscured by a lack of biblical love? Let's take a glimpse at how God defines love to see why it is imperative that we allow God to display not only His gifts but His love through our lives.
1. Patience and kindness.
God Himself demonstrates patience and kindness all the time. He allows His good gifts of beauty, family, love and laughter to be enjoyed by all people, even those who willfully reject him. Their eyes see His sunrises, and their mouths enjoy His food. Kindness extended to them and to each of us. He is not only kind but patient and slow to become angry. Even those of us Who love Him often don't thank Him as we should. His patience is extended even now as He waits to return, 2 Peter 3:9. He longs for all to come to Him.
Oh, what would it look like to offer a gift without demonstrating patience and kindness? Thinking about that question brought me back to one of the "Little House on The Prairie" TV episodes. Remember Mrs. Olsen? She had sponsored some children, paying their way to come to be a part of the school for the blind. However, though she was their benefactor, a word that she wasn't shy about using, her actions were anything but patient and kind. Instead, she was ill tempered and also aloof, all the while mentioning that she was the one responsible for the children being able to come and be a part of the school. What a marring of the beauty of her gift. The children couldn't understand why she didn't like them, which was how her actions made them feel. Thankfully, on the program, she was shown the error of her ways.
2. Rejoices with the truth.
This is a quality of biblical love that we sometimes don't ponder. It is less obvious than not acting in an unbecoming way and not keeping a record of wrongs, two other pictures Paul gives us concerning biblical love. Yet, rejoicing in truth and not in unrighteousness is a sweet part of how God pictures biblical love. If we use our spiritual gifts but don't share the truth of scripture when the Holy Spirit allows and enables us, we demonstrate a lack of love. Love rejoices in the truths of scripture, even those that others reject or find offensive. Yes, love means that truth must be shared without rudeness or arrogance. Yet, it is not loving to withhold God's truth because some will be offended regardless of how graciously it is presented.
Let's look at an example where a ministry does this right. Samaritan's Purse with its Operation Christmas Child. Praise to the Lord. They give opportunity to share practical gifts with children and their families. However, they don't stop there. Instead, they also share the Good News of Jesus with those precious families. What a demonstration of a ministry that rejoices in sharing the Truth!
Lord, help us to not be a noisy gong, clanging cymbal or an annoying buzzing. Rather than that, help us to show love as You define it, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.