The Manner of Giving: Lovingly

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If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:3

In this familiar chapter on love, we observe to what lengths God has gone to emphasise the absolute necessity of love motivating all we do. The first three verses list spiritual gifts and actions raised to their maximum level, attainable only by the Lord Jesus. It’s tempting to think these are impossible to accomplish apart from love. From Balaam to the Pharisees to 20th century monks, however, we are reminded that appearing spiritual or self-sacrificing is not proof of loving the Lord above all else and our neighbour as ourselves. We see only outward appearance, but God sees the heart.
Paul reminds us in Romans 5:8 that God demonstrated His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us. True love always leads to sacrificial giving of oneself for others. To truly love is to give ourselves away for Christ’s sake.
When God looks at us, does He see a ‘noisy nothing’? Do we have little love for Him and our neighbour, therefore giving little? Have we given to Him and our neighbour without love, therefore gaining nothing? Or, does our love for Him overflow out of us, propelling us toward using every gift from Him for the love of the Lord Jesus and our neighbour?

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