The Way of Love
In Heaven’s math 5 - 1 = 0. That is to say when you read the beginning of 1 Corinthians 13, you see 5 amazing qualities listed, but without love, the Bible says they are meaningless. This is a thought from the book Leading With Love, which also gives the following modern paraphrase of the first three versus of 1 Corinthians 13.
Picturing himself as the most extraordinary teacher or leader to ever live, Paul would say:
“If I were the most gifted communicator to ever preach,
so that millions of people were moved by my oratory,
but didn’t have love, I would be an annoying, empty wind-bag before God and people.
If I had the most charismatic personality, so that
everyone was drawn to me like a powerful magnet, but
didn’t have Christlike love, I would be a phony, a dud.
If I were the greatest visionary leader the church has ever heard, but didn’t have love, I would be misguided and lost.
If I were the bestselling author on theology and church growth, but didn’t have love, I would be an empty-headed failure.
If I sacrificially gave all my waking hours to discipling
future leaders, but did it without love,
I would be a false guide and model.”
Here is 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV):
“1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 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.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
Application: Love is not a quality that we posses as much as a way or attitude that we display all of our other qualities. You may “love” God or “love” someone, but that does not mean that you are necessarily walking in love as leader. Love is the platform that elevates all of our other good intentions and qualities. Meditate on each verse of 1 Corinthians 13, and ask God to speak to you about how you can grow in love.