Serving with Love

KEY VERSE: “Now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” —I Corinthians 13:13, Revised Standard Version

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Corinthians 13:1-13

THE GREATEST MOTIVATING force in the entire universe is love. This is because God is love. (I John 4:8) The only place in the universe where there is a lack of love is on earth. Ever since the Adversary, Satan, usurped the authority over mankind and took over the dominion of earth, selfishness has become a dominant characteristic of earth’s social order.

God’s plan is to restore righteousness to earth and to replace selfishness with love. As a first step for this accomplishment, he sent his Son to be man’s Redeemer. God was motivated by love to do this. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus, too, was motivated by love, for he said, “Greater love bath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”—John 15:13

As a second step in God’s plan, there is the selection of a church class to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom work. To these Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12) Being called to serve as Jesus also was called, they are to serve with love.

To establish the church in its beginning, God gave them gifts. These gifts are the subject of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, particularly in I Corinthians, 12th chapter. Apparently some members of the Corinthian church wanted these gifts for spiritual prestige and not for the purpose of seeking out a people for God’s name. So after explaining that all should not expect to receive these gifts but all should earnestly desire the higher gifts, he showed them a “more excellent way.” (I Cor. 12:31) This way was to develop love, the subject of I Corinthians 13.

In the search for God’s people, much is required of the followers of Jesus in this service for God. Some have the gift of oratory to present God’s message to those being drawn by God. Others have a knowledge of God’s plan and can discuss scriptures clearly with newly interested brethren, increasing their faith. Some have a capability for acquiring wealth and use it to help the needy and give of this wealth freely in the Lord’s service. The Apostle Paul mentions each of these needs for spreading the Gospel message, and shows how without the motivation of love, this service will be useless.

He says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (I Cor.13:1, RSV) The gift of oratory without the motivation of love results in a big noise being made. So he continues, “If I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (I Cor. 13:2, RSV) Those who have been privileged to be called by God to follow in the footsteps of Jesus have been given much knowledge. To his disciples Jesus said, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries [sacred secrets] of the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 13:11) This knowledge is indeed a great treasure. Yet if it fails to develop love within us, we become nothing with this knowledge and the absence of love. Finally Paul says, “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.”—I Cor. 13:3, RSV

The narrow way is one of sacrifice. Upon our consecration, we give everything to God, and he gives it back to us appointing us stewards over these goods. We are to use these wisely and well in his service. The Tabernacle sacrifices were a picture of self sacrifice. Yet, however well we might fulfill these consecration vows, if done without love, we are nothing.

In God’s kingdom, love will be the motivating force welding earth’s society into a large cooperative body in which all are serving one another.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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