There is a gift that is above all other gifts. Paul wrote about this gift in what many Christians know as The Love Chapter in the Bible (Read 1 Corinthians 13). Paul argues that if we practice our gifts, but do not have love then its worthless. All other gifts pass away, but faith, hope, and love remain. And the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
If we practice our gifts out of selfish ambition (a strange sense of competition with others), then we can become more hurtful than helpful. The goal of finding your gifting should always be to discover how God created you to worship Him and fulfill His purposes. This will always have to do with love. How do we know this?
Jesus shows us God’s unending and unearnable love for His creation. Jesus’ followers often times missed the point, one denied that he ever knew Jesus, and one betrayed Him. With the exception of John, they all ran and hid when He was arrested. If the love of God had to be earned, even the disciples of Christ would have fallen short of the mark. Thankfully, it is a gift that is freely given because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
The hard thing is that once you accept this grace, once you live with it in your life, you begin to realize the call. You begin to realize the greatest gift that has been given to you: a kind of love that beckons that you repeat it. The gift of grace should move us to extend it to others. It should move us to love those that are hard for us to love.
If I am honest with myself, there are times when my heart and my mind just aren’t there. I want to be angry. Is this hypocrisy? If I continue on without turning to God and asking Him to change me, if I claim grace and yet do not extend it, then yes, I am a hypocrite. However, if I do turn to God, if I look at the cross and realize how much grace has been given me, if I surrender to Him, then He will change me. This is tremendously hard to do, because it will come at a time when I least feel like surrendering.
Think of the parent who loves their child or the husband and wife that love each other. Eventually, someone is going to do something that causes friction. The only guarantee in relationships is that you will get hurt. Does this rob you of your love for that person? You may get angry, you may not like the person much at the time, but if your love runs deep enough, you are willing to take right steps to reconciliation even when you don’t feel like it. This isn’t hypocrisy, this is love – agape – in action.
Gods love for us is that on a much grander scale. This is His greatest gift to us – that while we were still sinners (hard to love, disobedient children), Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). His love for you runs deep. Will you extend that gift to others?