I have started a new adventure this fall. I am going to college. I was dumb as a teen fresh out of high school and didn’t have the determination it took, so although I started college a few times, I never actually stuck with it. Now, I am ready for the challenge. I’m attending Lee University at the Charlotte campus. It happens to be on the backside of the Church of God state offices. As I’ve been wandering around our half of the building, I could see a piano on the other end of the building. I had only seen it from afar, since Lee students aren’t allowed to wander to the COG offices. (apparently they have work to do and we’d be distractions. hehehe).
The piano is a big, black, beautiful grand piano. As I’ve looked at it, I’ve thought about how much I would love to hear my best friend play it. She’s an amazingly talent pianist and I just knew the sound would be incredible. Well, this week I had the opportunity to hear it played. The husband and I are taking a Worship Leaders class (no laughing!) and the class was held in the large room with the piano, so there would be room for the other instruments brought in. I thought it odd to see a keyboard set up, but assumed there was a really good reason. I quickly discovered that there was a good reason. The instructor sat at the piano, started demonstrating chords…and I heard it. The piano was out of tune!
It made me think of some “Christians” I know. From a distance, they look really good. They dress up nice, they go to church nine days a week, they can spout out Bible verses (with scripture references!) with the best of them. I mean, these people look like they have it all together! Until you look closely. Until you look at the things the Bible says matters.
1 Corinthians 13 says we are nothing without love. The different versions state it slightly differently from each other, but have the same meaning. Since we’re revisiting the love thing for about the 3000th time, I’m gonna give you the Leigh Pack Version. (I highly recommend you check a more reliable version to read the real scripture!) The LPV says If you have the voice of an angel, but can’t love the unlovable, your sound is no prettier than Nicki Minaj or Tiny Tim. If you know the Bible front to back, have every spiritual gift available, can hear God’s voice and make His mysteries clear to others, but don’t love the people you’re making those mysteries clear to, you are nothing. If you spend all your time feeding the homeless and helping the poor, if you sacrifice everything you have for Jesus…even your life….but can’t love those homeless and poor and lost, you have gained absolutely nothing. You can look like the most amazing Christian ever born, but if you don’t actively love and make it known, you have nothing. The Message says “I’m bankrupt without love.” I think that makes it very clear.
Part of me has always wondered if Paul was thinking clearly when he wrote those scriptures (in King James English, of course). After all, if you do all those things, surely you have the love of Jesus and will be showing it….right??? But, when you look around, it’s easy to see that there are plenty of people who have the doing part of Christianity down pat but aren’t always so good at the loving part. And, of course, Jesus Himself said that loving each other was second only to loving God. I guess that makes love pretty important.
So…no matter what I’ve done, what I’m going to do, what gifts I possess, how many people I help, how beautifully I sing, how many churches I’ve planted, how many people I’ve prayed for…no matter what…if I don’t have love, it means nothing in the end. I am like the beautiful, out-of-tune piano. Pretty but useless. Because those aren’t really the things that draw people to Jesus. Love does.
Be blessed and love someone!