Consider the power of love.
With love, we could accomplish so many good things, but without love our work is meaningless.
Regardless of how a person speaks, those words are empty unless they are spoken out of genuine love and concern for other people.
Even a Christian's gifts are meaningless unless the motive behind them is love. The Apostle Paul said that if he had the gift of prophecy - speaking about the future as God revealed it - he would minister unsuccessfully without love.
The absence of love would make a person's life meaningless even if he knew perfectly God's Word and all the knowledge accumulated by mankind.
Faith is a gift just as prophecy and understanding are gifts, and it, too, is insufficient if love is not present.
Paul reminds us that our giving, like our gifts, must be done in love. What are your motives for giving? Do you give because you genuinely care, or is it because you simply feel obligated to give?
Some people may wonder how love is defined and put into action in the life of a Christian. In verses 4-7 Paul leads us to a deeper understanding of love.
Real love means we are patient with people who have not always demonstrated love toward us. We want the best for them and nothing from them.
Envy is never a part of Christian love. If we truly love someone, we are not jealous of them and what they have accomplished.
If you are the type of person who loves in this way, some people are going to take notice, but be careful their recognition does not cause you to be proud or arrogant.
Love has nothing in it that makes a Christian conceited. In fact, it has the opposite effect of causing us to be humble. We should not focus on what we believe we should have at the expense of other people.
Love causes us to celebrate when we see people who are successful and happy in the Lord.
Never think love is a sign of weakness. Some will see it that way, and the love you give is not always going to be well-received. Keep your hope in God's love and plan for us. Good will eventually triumph.
God's Word assures us that love will never fail. When our gifts are in the past, our love will remain.
Christians are people of faith and hope, but love is above these because it is knowing and having the very nature of God.
All too often, faith and hope are about what will be, but genuine Christian love is about the present and living the Christ-like life now.
- The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. 28358. email@example.com