I Corinthians 13: 1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
What held Christ to the cross? Was it the long Roman nails? Was it His desire to fulfill the prophecies? Was it the need to prove to the disciples that He was the Christ? Was it an obligation to complete the mission? Was it to please the Father? Was it knowing that Resurrection Day was coming and the scribes and Pharisees would know the truth?
No. It was Christ’s great love for humanity. He endured the pain of the cross for us. He loved us sacrificially, completely, and consistently. He loved us so much that He could look up to heaven and ask God to forgive us. “They know not what they do.” He forgave the men who nailed Him to the tree. He loved them. In the midst of his physical torture, He asked John to care for his mother. He loved her. As the blood flowed from His wounds, He promised the repentant thief that He would, that very day, be in paradise with Him. He loved him.
Those of us who claim the name of Christ fill our calendar with things to do for the ministry – all of them very good things. But if we do them without loving the people we serve, our service is empty, like an annoying gong or clashing symbols. It’s only when we serve out of a heart of love for Christ and those He died to save that our love blooms, blossoms, and becomes a fragrant offering to the King of Kings.
Father, create in us a heart that loves like yours. Take our tinkling cymbals and make them instruments of praise. Amen