How easy it is to base our love for someone on our own desires! But Jesus wants our motives to be pure as His were while He ministered to others on earth.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES         By Sally Bair

Gifts of Love

At my former country home, a small herd of deer visited my yard most afternoons. A small buck sometimes made an appearance with the does. He had a small rack of antlers—apparently impressive to the other deer—and he used them to his advantage. He pushed and shoved to get the most of the fallen birdseed and to reach the most succulent leaves and pine needles around.

Sometimes we act like that buck, flaunting our special gifts—our talents, looks, social standing, family name—to impress people and to get what we want from them.

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, he admonishes his readers about their arrogance. Those new believers possessed some of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophecy and speaking in tongues, and used them with an attitude of competition and at the expense of showing the love of God.

There was nothing wrong with possessing and using their gifts. In fact, Paul encouraged it. But he told them such use of their gifts would have no good effect on individuals or on the Church, unless used in love. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Whenever the Christian Church as a whole loses its focus on Christian character founded on love, it will remain divided like the church in Corinth, which had traded its purity and love of others for a spirit of envy and self-centeredness.

Perhaps it’s time for us to search our hearts for the true motives of our actions. Are we displaying arrogance in our dealings with others, trying to be the first or get the most, like the buck in my backyard? Are we expressing love as Jesus did?

Lord, reveal to us the times we haven’t shown the love of God. Forgive us for using selfish, empty motives when giving to others. Show us how to love with humility as Jesus did. We ask this in His name, amen.