If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
In the David Kinnaman’s book, UnChristian, one of the interviews of an un-churched 34 year old by the name of Steven revealed this encounter:
“A young guy approached me in a subway station once, friendly, full of questions, interested in talking. He seemed really nice, and I couldn’t believe a New Yorker was being so, well, nice! We exchanged numbers and said we’d hang out sometime. Next time I
heard from him, he invited me to a Bible study, and that was all he wanted to talk about. When I said, “No thanks,” I never heard from him again.”
Gifts of prophecy, the ability to understand life’s deepest mysteries, knowledge as vast as a set of Brittanicas… doesn’t make you somebody. It certainly doesn’t make you a mature believer. Paul says without love… you are actually a nobody.
Knowledge and faith without love are of no value in this world. Now it goes without saying that knowledge and faith are both important elements of the Christian life. We have a Sunday School and desire to see everyone who calls Jesus their Lord to be taught the Word. And faith… how can one make much progress in the Christian journey without it? Paul says elsewhere that “We walk BY faith, not by sight.”
But once again… knowledge and faith can both be done without an ounce of compassion within us.
This is particularly true of knowledge. Paul states elsewhere that “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” There is a pitfall for the intellectual among us to try to STUDY God. The head fills with knowledge but the heart can remain unchanged. This was the
problem of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.
Rebecca Manley Pippert shares: “The Pharisees studied God. They memorized the Scriptures and knew every word. They even devised games with their scrolls. They would throw a dart into a rolled up scroll. The word would be read where the dart landed and they would then have to recite the rest of the verse. They felt that through study they could find God and that knowledge was the avenue to transformation. Jesus himself commented to the Pharisees, “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life.” To know the Scriptures is to know God, they thought.
Without love we, the knowledgeable and the faithful, rather than becoming distinguished… are actually nothing… NOBODIES. Your faith may move mountains, but your approach to others isn’t moving any hearts. Trying desperately to reach someone for the Lord? Lead with your heart… not with your head!