1 Corinthians 13
“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (Click here to read the entire chapter)
Generosity is a very important aspect of God’s love inside of us. In fact, if we have problems giving of ourselves or of our possessions (monetary or otherwise), we should seriously consider who we are in Christ. It is one of the greatest characteristic of Jesus and His people. Blessings abound as we give of ourselves. That includes, but is not limited to, our labors.
But we cannot claim that our connection with Christ is proven by that generosity. “I give, therefore I am a Christian” mentality just doesn’t work. James teaches us that faith without works isn’t faith at all (James 2:20). But to think that those works are who we are destroys anything that Jesus teaches about love. Your hard work and generosity proves that you can work hard and give, it does not prove that you love anyone. When we are struggling to love, we will often do “things” to conceal it. To make people think we love, when it’s really just empty labor and fruitless giving, proves nothing. God knows the heart (Romans 8:27)
In the same light, the saddest thing we could ever do is to give to the point of death in a hollow sacrifice. This is meant for more than just actual martyrdom. But can you imagine someone dying for Christ, without love? I’m not even sure it’s possible to go that far without love. You might think that a person can do for Christ because of their love for Christ, not for their love for other people. But…
Jesus made the greatest statement about love in Matthew 22:37-40:
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
In reading the entire statement, we see that loving God only cannot be done. You cannot love God without loving mankind. So, if you give yourself to die in Jesus’ name, but have failed to love God’s creation (people) you have failed God in what appears to be the biggest way possible.
Paul was trying to make a point here about what you cannot do without love. Without love, you will never choose death for Christ. It just cannot be done. Prove me wrong!