Relationships form a key element in the discipline of service because actions- even charitable, selfless deeds- can never substitute for love on the part of the doer. Paul attested that even if he sacrificed his body and yet did not love others, he would "be of no value whatsoever" ( 1 Corinthians 13:3). Because of this, we need to be mindful of how we do what we do, for relationships develop along the way in life.
Act our of Love
Lord Jesus understood this, and this is evidenced by His reaction to Mary when she anointed His feet with expensive perfume (John 12:1-7). Judas protested the seemingly wasteful use of the perfume, arguing that it could have been sold and given to the poor. But the Lord Jesus knew Mary's heart, and He praised her for preparing Him for burial in this beautiful way. Mary's act was performed out of love for her Lord, and merely giving the money from the perfume to the poor would have been a meaningless act if she had no true concern for them.
Too often we pass right by people in our effort to get things done. Often we are more concerned with producing visible results than with caring for people. But even the most "spiritual" activities are pointless without love.
Putting it into Practice
Rewrite 1 Corinthians 13 in your own words, using specific references to your situation. For example, a teacher may write, " Though my students get all the knowledge I can communicate to their minds, unless I reach their hearts with love, it is of little value." A parent may write, "Though my family has all the bread they can eat, if I don't give them love, they will starve." Then determine specific ways to express such love as you go about your work and life.
1 Corinthians 13:1 " Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
1 Co 13:2 And though I have prophecies, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so as to move mountains, and do not have love, I am nothing.
1 Co 13:3 And though I give out all my goods to feed the poor, and though I deliver my body to be burned, and have not love, I am profited nothing.
Letter # 15 (18. 4. 2010)